I remember a cold, dark Spring day when my mom gave my brothers and me paper and pens and asked us to write get-well letters to Dr. McGuire, our family doctor who had delivered many Blackmore babies, administered polio serums and vaccines to all of us and sent us off with a safety pop and a pat on the head every time.
Dr. McGuire was dying and my mom hoped that our letters, in his final days, would remind him of how highly our family regarded him and his wisdom.
I curled every cursive L and elegantly glided through the capital S in my shaky third-grade hand. It was with the utmost care that my letter was written.
So when I read in this Sunday's paper that schools across the country were scaling back, some altogether eliminating, their cursive handwriting lessons, I began to wonder. If I was a kid today, asked to write a dying man a get-well wish, would I have dared to compose a text message complete with a colon and left parentheses emoticon : ( at the end of my final, abbreviated sentence?
At the risk of sounding archaic and out-of-touch, there's an intimacy to a handwritten letter that cannot be duplicated in a text or email. A paper letter filled with the missives of a loved one is far more meaningful and lasting than its electronic counterpart.
Many school officials contend that most correspondence with their students is done through electronic media. No one turns in a 12-page double-spaced paper report any longer. Tangibility is no longer necessary. As a result, they've ruled in favor of broadening their keyboarding and computer curriculums. While I can see the school's point and agree that the handwritten word is becoming more of a novelty, I fear we may be fostering a generation of children who are more comfortable expressing themselves through emoticons in cold electronic forums.
While I know something will be lost if cursive is forgotten, I wager many kids won't miss the repetitive nature of the art form.
Do you believe cursive is a necessary part of education? Would you teach it at home if your school decides to remove it from the curriculum?