Can parents ever expect, and demand, total obedience from their eleven plus children? There must be absolute obedience if a train is bearing down on the family at a railway crossing. Do children need to be equally obedient about doing extra eleven plus work? To what extent should children be obedient in the majority of eleven plus situations?
There is, of course, the legitimate authority of the mother and father of eleven plus children. Some parents may spoil their track record by constant repetition of a familiar litany: “How can you do this after all I have done for you?”
This is the obedience built up over a number of years – and is often tempered by fire! (Or an angry mother.) When the eleven plus child was two years old he or she probably knew that it would be unwise to carry a plateful of sticky doughnuts over the brand new carpet. A proud mother or father would possibly not even need to demand absolute obedience.
If, however, the child had reached the stage of working through eleven plus papers but had enjoyed a tempestuous relationship over extra eleven plus work, then it may become very difficult to try to pin the candidate down to serious study.
Many parents, at times, may wish that they had developed a fool proof system of agentic leadership. This is where the parents are firmly in command of the eleven plus situation. An agentic leadership style can be rather like a commander in charge of troops. “It is time to go to your desk and start work. I do not want or expect any argument. Go now!”
Some children may appear to be naturally obedient when asked to do something in front of other people. “What a dear sweet child you have!”
Other children may appear to enjoy making as big a fuss as possible – when it is clearly a highly inappropriate moment. This, for example, is the two year old who throws a tantrum in the middle of a large and very busy supermarket. Will that same child throw a similar tantrum when asked to do some eleven plus work when the much loved grandmother arrives for a visit?
Aeschylus (525 to 456BC) was a wise Greek. He remarked on obedience:
“Obedience, you know, is Good Luck’s mother, wedded to Salvation, they say.”
“Dear eleven plus children,
If you are obedient, you will give yourself the opportunity of gaining eleven plus salvation!