Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Keep Those Notebooks!

Socrates complained that the invention of writing would ruin the ability to use our brains to remember. Others have echoed that sentiment with regard to photography and technology in general. As our lives get less complicated, we seem to lose the essential skills, according to these social observers. The same is now being said about writing cursive...something most of us seldom do in this age of text messages, email, and word-processing every document. Endorse a check? Nope. Just take a picture with a phone, and the bank puts the money in your account. Write out a simple check for services rendered? Unlikely: we mostly just swipe the card, either credit or debit, and go on our merry way.
The old joke about poor handwriting involved medical school training and indecipherable cursive. Obviously, anyone who signed his or her name hundreds of times daily or sits in lecture halls where note-taking was required was bound to develop a system which quickened the process but left the squiggles unreadable by many others. In fact, as recently as a 2012 study indicated, more than a third of those studied could not read THEIR OWN handwriting, and fully 30% of those folks had not been required to actually write anything in the previous six months.
"So what's the big deal?" I hear you ask. For one, there's the shame involved when, on January 23rd (National Handwriting Day) we face the embarrassment of being unable to write a greeting card to descendants of John Hancock--since it is also HIS birthday. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that writing cursive is a function that utilizes both left and right sides of the brain and forces us to use both mental and physical components of our being.
To date, only six states continue to mandate the teaching of cursive writing: Alabama, California, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. While other states are considering returning to our written roots, as it were, there is still a long way to go.
Just remember this: the next time the power goes out and ALL the technology devices are powerless, you can still write a "help me" message to paste on the window or put into a sealed bottle...but only if you can write, and only if there is a notepad somewhere handy!
Write on!


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