There was a very interesting article in June 26th 2013 Globe and Mail, entitled “Cursive Is Dying, KIds Can’t Sign Their Own Names And That’s A Huge Problem”

The article reminds us that

A signature is something that is uniquely ours. It is something we have created, that no one else can replicate (nefarious motives aside) in true likeness. An Internet password is none of those things.”

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It also points out that in society today, our signature is still the accepted form of proof of identity when filling out forms.  The article refers to another piece in the Toronto Star where a 14 year old boy is quoted.

I do a lot of stuff on the computer,” Lukas, 14, told the Star. “But I guess it’s weird (not to learn any cursive), because it turns out I have to sign my name on some things.”

How did we, as parents, educators and mentors, manage to miss that little fact?  It’s really quite obvious, but it’s not the only reason either.  I have been championing the need to keep cursive writing in the curriculum for a number of years now.  I regularly asked that neat cursive writing (not printing) be included in my children’s goals at school.  Only one teacher in our school really saw it as important a skill as I did.  In Grade 3, my children both had beautiful cursive handwriting, already becoming unique to themselves.  That was the last year it was a priority, and the resulting handwriting and spelling was proof of how priorities were changing.

I have another reason beyond the aspect of a legal signature.  Because a person’s signature is unique to themselves, it’s like they’ve taken a piece of themselves and offered it to you.  A note on email is sweet, but anyone could type it, sign it and send it if they could access you email account.  It’s much more troublesome and difficult to forge a handwritten note.  When I receive a handwritten note from someone, I know they’ve taken time to “put pen to paper”.  It immediately identifies them, like a familiar face in the crowd. Seeing the handwriting of someone special on a note, or on the envelope in the mailbox is enough to evoke feeling of happiness and anticipation.

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Handwriting can also be an absolute work of art.  I know many people whose handwriting has developed into something not only unique, but beautiful.  When I was about 9 I was collecting autographs and asked a family friend to sign my book.  He wrote a beautiful little verse and I’ve treasured it ever since. The verse was cute, but what really struck me was his penmanship.  It was flowing, delicate yet strong; a work of art.  The last time I took a look at it, his handwriting was just as striking.  No matter what font you choose to use, it’s someone else’s art, not yours.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to reject a compliment because it’s typed, I’m not going to ignore a person because they can’t write neatly or prefer to print or type.  However, pretty fonts, text messages or emails just don’t give that personal feeling; there’s an intimacy that is missing.  While I’m an avid fan of typing and the “new tech” that makes our life “easier”, I never did understand why embracing the new ever meant that we had to throw out the old.  I prefer to find a way to embrace both of them and let them intertwine to enable us to communicate in the most meaningful, enjoyable, and richly beautiful ways.

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