Dear Reader…Just days after a week of letter writing, now we spotlight “National Handwriting Day.” January 23rd is the day set aside annually to celebrate handwriting. Isn’t it great that both letter writing and handwriting are features of early January along with new beginnings and resolutions? Maybe there’s a hidden nudge for us to handwrite more throughout the coming year?
Interestingly enough, handwriting, especially “Cursive Handwriting” is in the current news rather frequently. California just passed a law to reinstate the teaching of cursive in the public school curriculum. So starting this January, California kids are being trained to write longhand. Back in 2006 when Common Core Standards were nationally established, cursive writing was dropped from the grade school programs in favor of keyboarding. Eighteen years later, it’s slowly making a comeback. Presently, there are 23 states that require cursive be taught in the public schools systems.
Scientific studies have shown that writing by hand has multiple benefits. Not only does it train fine motor skills, it expands creativity, and enhances the memory. Therefore, it is far better for class notetaking than typing is.
HANDWRITING IS AN ART FORM. Famous calligrapher, Margaret Shepherd, attests to the fact that calligraphy is thriving among younger generations. So, there is still an interest in learning to write well. It does take practice and discipline. It is counterculture to teach kids something that is so slow and time-consuming, when everything is geared towards fast and faster. I find it refreshing that the kids are being offered a skill that will slow them down and strengthen their ability to concentrate.
“Does cursive make you curse?”-was one of the headlines I spotted. Not everyone is happy about learning to handwrite. It does put extra work on the shoulders of the teachers. So, the question arises, why is cursive making a comeback? The general excuse is so that kids can read important historical documents like The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. An added bonus is the fact that these kids will develop their own signature to sign on their own important documents like a driver’s license, or later on, a marriage certificate.
It is no secret that technology wins the day. Humanity is being rushed along into a AI controlled world. Don’t you see it as something positive when being simply human gets center stage? Handwriting is uniquely human. Everyone’s script is as individual “as the nose on their face.” So, chalk one up for our team. Yes, cursive is old-fashioned, slow and ponderous to learn. But it’s a life skill that at the very least, it will give the student the ability to write one’s own name. And more expansively, it will open avenues for journaling and letter writing, and…
Handwriting is one way we can claim some balance, and keep a foot in the non-digital world of our ancestors, those who wrote those important historical documents in their beautiful cursive script.
Today, pick up a pen or pencil and celebrate your handwriting. Write your grocery list, your “to-do” list, or a gratitude list, an affirmation, a poem, a letter to a friend. Consciously, reclaim the power of your pen in hand.
No batteries required.