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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eleven Plus Decisions

Every now and then eleven plus parents need to make decisions. Some decisions are easy – which eleven plus books should I buy? The eleven plus family enters the bookshop. One member of the senior management team consults. Another member of the senior team asks why the family should not buy the lot. A junior, but most important member, feigns disinterest but reacts miserably as paper after paper and book and after book are added to a growing pile. The most junior member is not all that interested as a copy of The Prince and the Wizard has caught her attention.

Decisions have to be made. If the candidate does not make a decision then something will happen and it may not be to his or her advantage. The `candidate’ may lose control. There is absolutely no use in appealing to logic – as the candidate’s parents have changed their position. They are no longer talking purposefully about buying books for the eleven plus – they are now on a mission. “Only the best will do. My child will not be disadvantaged – we are agreed. Buy the lot!”

Intuition reminds the `candidate’ that few things will distract the parents from their odyssey but craft could help. Would pressing the fire alarm clear the shop? Should a fight be picked with the younger sibling to distract the parents – making time to stuff at least half the books back onto the shelf?

The candidate now needs to consider the risks. This will tend to concentrate the mind - making the decision less difficult. What about offering a plea bargain? If I allow `them’ to buy all those books – what bargain can I broker? What do I really need? Should I be aggressive or laid back? Decisions, decisions!

I know – what about if I suggest that we leave the books on the counter and have a nice cup of tea while we deliberate? If `them’ turn back into the nice loving parents I have always known, then mum and dad may be more receptive to my suggestions. I need to appeal to their better sides. I won’t fight. I won’t argue.

“Mum, Dad – we need to take time and deliberate carefully. We really need to sleep on this. You know that granddad always says that sleeping on a problem helps the brain to come up with a solution. We may not need all the papers. Why not start with a few books then add to them as I work through them?”

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