By now parents will be recording their motivational speeches. How many times can parents say: “Just do the best you can. Whatever the results we will still love you. Keep it up!” The eleven plus examination is a momentous event in the lives of most families. In fact it possibly can be compared with the real life wedding!
At most weddings the conventional programme begins with the bride’s father – who proposes the toast to the bridge and groom.
In eleven plus motivational terms it may be a good idea for the father(s) of the parents to deliver an inspiration speech on the turmoil and vicissitude that took place as the present candidate’s parents approached examinations. Perhaps a grandfather could even add a little humour. (Please remind grandfather to avoid clichés like the plague.)
Next comes the bridegroom (or in this case the father of the candidate). He will be pleasant and won’t want to upset his son or his daughter.
After the groom the best man stands up to propose a toast. (We are, however, going to miss this out and look at the speech of the mother of the child.)
In all these speeches it is customary to make a big effort to be nice. In the case of speeches at a wedding most parties will be trying to pay a tribute. All the parties will try hard to compliment each other. Words of sincerity and praise will ring over the room. The eleven plus child needs the same. There should be carefully chosen words. Nothing said should be too miserable or patronising.
In many modern weddings it has become a custom of the bride to offer a few remarks. This is the speech that all concerned need to listen to carefully. It will be carefully structured. The speech will have a natural rhythm. It is unlikely that there will be tears as the bride is speaking. In fact the room will probably be mesmerised and involved.
This is the stage when we realise that the bride is the mother of the potential eleven plus candidate! We can expect the son or the daughter to listen to an uplifting pre eleven plus speech with reverence and silence along with rapt attention. Your child should listen to what you say – walk up to you with a hug and say: “That was the nicest thing you have said to me all year. I promise to work hard and do my best. Thank you for these kind words. Once again, thank you – I am motivated and feel that I am on the right track.”