This current educational debate: “Is cursive writing a thing of the past? Should it be taught in schools or is it a waste of time because students no longer use it in their everyday lives?” reminded me of an essay I read many years ago in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH). A dad wrote, quite eloquently, about his desire for his children to receive an education in their public school in a manner that educated them to be prepared for anything they wanted to be as adults. At that time, a big debate was raging in education about whether to allow African-American students to write in “Black English”. One argument was that children should be permitted to write in the way they speak. Another argument was that all children should be educated in standard English. The aforementioned dad wanted his children to be able to write a college essay that would get them in the college of their choosing. He knew this would not be a possibility without learning to write in Standard English. He wanted them to have an education that would prepare them for success, not just a high school diploma.
I shared this father’s sentiments then and hold similar views now. I want children to be educated so that the world of possibilities is open to them. Without learning cursive writing they will be unable to sign their names to legal documents, they will not have access to original historical documents (all of those documents in the National Archives will be gibberish to them!), be able to read any cards or letters their ancestors wrote, or be equipped to communicate in a more personalized manner. I, for one, cherish every card or letter sent from a loved one. A text message or email does not have the same sentiment attached as a hand-written note or letter. What a shame if our grandchildren can no longer read the loving messages sent from their grandchildren!
One mom mentioned on a facebook post that grandparents need to learn to text message their grandchildren if they want to stay connected to them. Aside from the fact that I cherish my grandchildren’s voices and want to hear them talking to me, a text message cannot be saved and held in your hands 50 years later in the same way I periodically look at my grandmother’s cards to me. A text message in place of a card with a handwritten note and signature is as personal as sending someone a smiley face emoticon in place of giving them a real, honest-to-goodness hug when you see them in person. Who among us thinks that is a good substitute?
If you agree with me on this issue, make sure your voice is heard when your local school system proposes to eliminate Cursive writing from the curriculum.
And if you would like my handwritten, cursive autograph, check out my books on my webpage and I’ll be sure to autograph it for you!