While technology takes over some of the heavy lifting, handwriting remains an important part of who we are.
Handwriting has long been a skill that identifies us from each other. Like a fingerprint, our handwriting is unique from everyone else on the planet. Although teachers did their best to get all students to form each cursive letter exactly the same, students always showed their individual cursive style. There was the left-hander's back slant, the cursive-print combination style, the tiny letters, and some illegible examples that only the author himself could discern.
Today the idea of a handwritten composition is nothing more than a fable told to disbelieving students- "You wrote the words? With a pen?" However, according to a washingtonpost.com article, the loss of handwriting also may be a cognitive opportunity missed. The article explains, "Studies show that the neurological process that directs thought, through fingers, into written symbols is a highly sophisticated one. Several academic studies have found that good handwriting skills at a young age can help children express their thoughts better - a lifelong benefit."
While technology has given the gift of efficiency and accuracy to our writing, it cannot provide a truly personal touch. It is the handwritten messages that we remember most -the stack of love letters, the yearbooks filled with the wisdom of 18 year-old high school graduates, cherished letters of encouragement received during the uncertainty of college, notes of gratitude for kindness shown, and the offer of sympathy and hope to others in times of loss. These are the moments when e-mail just won't do.
The beauty of communication is that there is room for all kinds. As technology helps us communicate more quickly and easily with e-mail and text messaging, there will forever remain a place for the personal and intimate touch that only handwriting can give.
How do we encourage our children to write more? And ourselves!
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