It is probably time to start serious collecting of all the lucky charms your child may need before the eleven plus examinations. Almost every thinking, reasoning and sensible eleven plus parent will have a `Lucky Eleven Plus List’ by now. Of course it is important to distinguish between a superstition and a lucky charm.
Take, for example, our understanding that a rabbit’ foot is a lucky charm. It is difficult to work out whether the foot is luckier if it is embalmed or if a fresh foot is needed. Think how your friendly super market butcher will respond if you ask for fresh rabbit foot:
“Would you prefer the left or the right foot madam?”
“Would madam please choose between a front foot and a back foot?”
But some parents should not be fobbed off with a hare’s foot. A hare is considered to be unlucky to eat, uncanny and a witch in disguise. Many years ago newborn children, however, were fed on hares’ brains to promote intelligence and physical prowess. (Some eleven plus children may prefer this to their current diet of fish brains.)
A hare’s foot or a rabbit’s foot was supposed to help cramp, rheumatism and bring luck to the holder. When we walk into the major book shops in eleven plus areas there are often displays – even rows - of books and papers. Parents could look for the books with a rabbit’s foot attached. This would mean publishers and the like becoming involved in more than the present rather simple mystique that now surrounds the eleven plus.
Think too of the lines of children waiting to go into the examination. A goodly percentage would be clutching their personalised rabbit’s foot.
Parents will look the children and start worrying. Is a white foot luckier than a brown foot? Do children need coloured different feet for verbal reasoning and mathematics? Does the size of a foot count? Parents have so much on their minds – but some children may need a little extra help on the day.
The Day of the Examination
“Do you have your sharp pencils?
Are you carrying your rubber?
Are you wearing your rabbit’s foot?
Right, into the car with you. You are off to your destiny.”