Spring view

Spring view
A View From Our Deck

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Cursive Debate

I have heard a lot of discussion about whether or not kids should be taught to write cursive.  Initially I thought, of course they should be able to write and not print everything.  I heard a story of a child who received a birthday greeting from his grandmother.  He did not know how to read or write cursive so he couldn't read it.  He didn't  even know who sent him the card.  That is sad but probably not totally true.  It probably didn't take him long to figure out it was grandma.  All the X's , O's and lipstick kisses probably gave it away.

I heard that people in the future won't be able to read old documents like the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.  When I was a child we practiced how to write almost everyday in school but through the ages penmanship has changed so much that some words are difficult for me to read and I'm almost as old as that document.

When I was in college, we had a class called manuscript writing.  It wasn't a class about writing manuscripts, but it was a penmanship class.  I think I helped my husband cheat in that class just a little because he is left handed and our instructor was an old guy who didn't approve of lefties.  We had to do pages of circles and slants to learn how to make the perfect letter.  What a waste of college class time.

We didn't have computers or voice activated word detection back then.  We had to write letters and send them through the mail.  In class, we had to write our notes and study for tests from notebooks.  So now I come to the point of my story.  I have been writing thank you notes to people who sent memorials for my dad.  I always thought I had good penmanship, but every note I have written looks terrible.  I am almost embarrassed to send some of them.   I came to the conclusion that I don't write long hand anymore.  I find that I rush and miss words.  We have trained ourselves to think faster than we write because most of the time we type on a keyboard.  Once in a while, we have to sign our name on a document, but even that doesn't have to be great.  Have you ever signed those credit card machines.  Most of the time, my signature isn't even legible.  We got a letter the other day with some important information for us.  This was the signature.

This is the signature of a person whose first name is Jon, middle initial is D and his last name has ten letters.  As you can see, you don't have to write perfect cursive to sign your name.  My husband taught school and noted that by middle school students were developing their own style of cursive.  At times he had difficulty reading their papers.  What good does it do to write, if it can't be read.  At least when a person prints, they usually print every letter.  Computers also have handwriting fonts, and I'm pretty sure government agencies and others use those fonts to fool us into believing we have an actual signature.

This isn't my usual type of blog, but I got to thinking about this as I fell asleep last night.  I think the reality of it is nothing stays the same and that includes perfect cursive penmanship.  My heart wants to keep things the same but my head tells me that time marches on and technology is replacing many things in life.  Sometimes it makes things easier and sometimes it adds frustration.  We aren't going back to the olden days.  Even the Amish elders probably never thought they would be shopping in peoples garages or making a trailer for their buggy's so they can take home their purchases.