Monday, April 16, 2012
I had a really interesting discussion with a co-worker the other day about how teachers are no longer teaching cursive in elementary school. It made me a little sad. I have fond memories of writing my name on lined paper and learning to rewrite every letter with curves and loops (yes, I think I was born to be a writer). I was never a big fan of the cursive "q," however -- I always disliked words that started with q's if I was required to write them in cursive.
One of the most fascinating things I've noticed about handwriting is that it can be hereditary. My dad is left-handed and has always written very precisely. All of his letters are straight up and down, his y's have closed loops and his r's have a sharp edge. One day when I was in college and was looking at a list my dad had left on the table (my dad has the incredibly endearing habit of writing little notes to himself on 3x5 cards and carrying them around in his front shirt pocket), I realized something: My handwriting is incredibly similar to his. In fact, it's almost uncanny how similar they are.
I remember being SO careful as a kid to have nice handwriting, then going through stages where I dotted my i's with hearts (because Stacey in The Baby-sitters Club did that) and seeing how tiny I could write my assignments in high school (much to the chagrin of my English teacher). And now I look at my handwriting today and realize that it has evolved and become something familiar again -- even though I tried so hard to make my handwriting my own. Isn't that amazing?
So here's my point. If you're not already in the habit of keeping a journal or a scrapbook, DO IT -- or just write notes to yourself and keep them so your kids can see them later. You can tell a lot about a person by their handwriting, and you can tell the connection to your family through handwriting (at least I can). You'll look back on your handwriting later and be so grateful you saved it, even if it's just a little card or grocery list. I cherish notes from my grandparents because of their lovely penmanship. It's a lost art -- one that I'm not going to let my kids lose. Even if their teachers don't teach them cursive, I'll have them practice it at home. They'll need to write beautiful letters and notes at some point, too.