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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Eleven Plus Walk

Today’s paper carried a story of how obese parents were going to be paid to walk their children to school. These mothers and fathers will be faced with a new set of images. We must imagine that they will naturally feel conflicting emotions. A flood of images will no doubt pour through them as they walk to school with their children.

When they start of their walk they will need to store images of the route. They will need to remember where to stop and rest, where they need to cross a road and how they feel about the sight of cars rolling smoothly past.

When they have covered the route a number of times – and the roads have become familiar – then bit by bit the need for gathering fresh images will diminish. The parents will be able to walk towards intersections and will be able to turn left or right without much conscious effort.

It is possible that these mothers and fathers will build images of themselves being slim and athletic. They may start day dreams of being picked up and swept off to school in a limousine. They may dream of riches or being able to solve problems at work and at home with superlative ease. They could day dream of having their every word listened to by teachers and other parents. They would become authorities on television on how to walk themselves into good health. Fame would instant.

The parents would also be able to forge new relationships with their children. After all they will be spending time together – and will be able to chat about `stuff’. They may start talking about school and homework. They may discuss work and relationships with teachers.

The walk to school would become much more an exercise in exercise – it could become the catalyst for change.

Here, therefore, is a proposal for a new Eleven Plus feature – called `The Eleven Plus Walk’. This is not to be confused with the Lambeth Walk – the Eleven Plus Walk is a far more cerebral experience.

The walk can take place with the dog as company.

It can be meandering through a busy shopping centre – without buying anything – just chatting and walking slowly.

For the hardy, the walk can take place with back packs and full orienteering maps.

The Eleven Plus Walk could even be around the block.

Parents and children could chat about life in general, the eleven plus in particular, and form a different relationship. There must be many parents who are already enjoying walking with their children – and we would be grateful for any advice they can pass on to others.

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