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Friday, October 05, 2007

The Eleven Plus Journey

I started thinking today about final journeys. The eleven plus examinations are approaching One day parents – and their children - will be walking or driving to school for the all important test. What do you say on the way to a test?

Do you spend your time reminding your child of all the problem areas that have come up over the past months? (Don’t forget to read each question twice. Look for the key words.)

Are you determinedly cheerful and say: “Of course you will pass. You know you will pass.”

Do you complain if your poor child suddenly vomits over the upholstery of your brand new car?

Do you even mention the examination?

Do you avoid mentioning the examination?

However you and your loved one will feel on the day of the examination must be better than Marie Antoinette’s emotions on the day of her execution. I wonder if she stopped to look closely at the weave of the basket that was to receive her head after the guillotine had fallen.

We know that while Dick Turpin was sitting beside the gibbet waiting to be hung he chatted to his executioners and the crowd that had come to watch him die.

Someone else who springs to mind is poor Red Riding Hood. Imagine how she felt as the big bad wolf blasted hot smelly breath all over her. What went though her mind as the large teeth came closer and closer? Was she fearful? Did she meet her anticipated fate with some degree of equanimity?

So somehow you want your eleven plus child to walk into the examination feeling reasonably relaxed. You do want some degree of excitement and anticipation – but not too much! You certainly don’t want a feeling of dread and fear.

You will probably find that you will need much more calming down than your child. So give yourself a hearty breakfast – if you can. Take that last big box of chocolates out of the refrigerator and prepare to stuff yourself silly. Give that last hug. Turn your face aside and walk bravely away.

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