While sitting at the girls’ symphony chair placement auditions a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t help but listen to the teenagers on the bench across from me chat about all kinds of things. Most of it was idle chit chat; typical teenage banter and not noteworthy in any way.
Then one of the girls said something that made me sad. She said she couldn’t write anything in cursive except her first name. I posted on Facebook my total dismay about their comments.
“Listening to a group of teenagers talking about not knowing how to write in cursive – except their first name. How sad. It’s such a beautiful way to put words on paper. I wonder if this is how people felt when calligraphy became a dying art form.”
A couple people responded that their kids learned it, but most weren’t shocked by the statement. Cursive writing was part of the curriculum all the way until I went to high school at which time typing and calligraphy took over. I remember being in junior high and having to write, in cursive, homework assignments. Being the pack rat that I am, I may still have some of my favorite pieces of work. Whenever there is something to write, I proudly admire the flare and flourishes that make handwriting so beautiful.
I encourage my girls to write in cursive when the opportunities arise. Unfortunately, that generally only happens when they write thank you notes. Any other time, it’s a mixed bag of printing and pseudo-cursive. I’ve even gone so far as to encourage them to try calligraphy to help them learn there’s more to communication than what transpires on a digital device of some kind. Not only is a handwritten note greatly appreciated, but the added detail of carefully crafted handwriting shows it had your attention during the process.
Alas, I seldom see them putting pen to paper unless it’s a worksheet that needs to be filled out for school. You cannot imagine how happy it made me when Kennedy requested books and a lettering kit for her birthday! I walked into the room the evening of her birthday to see one of the books open and her meticulously tracing the samples with her new pens. It is my hope that she’ll use continue to work on these skills and use them regularly.
While I don’t expect her to give up her email in exchange for letter-writing, I’m glad there are kids that may keep the art of cursive writing alive. If you – or your children – don’t know how to write in cursive, pick them up a book to learn how. Then encourage them to use their newfound skills!
How often do you write in cursive?