At some time or another some eleven plus parents may need to sell the idea of the eleven plus to their children. Of course advertising about eleven plus products is aimed at parents – it would, probably, be a remarkably rare child who would take hard won pocket money to buy an eleven plus book in the face of parent disapproval.
Parents cannot continue to present the same arguments: “Passing will be good for your education. You should achieve a better job and make more money.” At times children may need a rather more subtle approach.
A major greeting card company became curious why people really bought greeting cards. The company wanted to make more sales. One thing that puzzled the company was that year after year one of the best sellers was a barren, gnarled tree standing alone on a wind-swept and snow covered hill. It was not a cheerful picture – but had great pulling power. People bought the picture – and kept on buying year after year.
The company naturally looked at motivation. The key factor in the buying of the card was loneliness. It would be a remarkably sad and misguided parent who thought that preying on the emotion of the fear of loneliness would help a child to come to terms with the eleven plus.
Do you also remember the toothpaste company that began to outsell its rivals? The company promised that people did not have to brush their teeth after every meal. Of course this rang a bell in the minds of many people. “No dear, you do not have to brush your teeth after working on an eleven plus paper. Tooth bacteria is not the same as adverse feelings about extra work!”
No matter how parents present the advantages of sustained eleven plus work – children have to feel the same excitement as their parents. There is little need for most children to feel gloomy about the extra work involved in preparing for the examination. Many parents will simply rely on the highly reassuring and well-meant words:
“Don’t worry dear, just do your best. “