Lost Art

I find myself at a loss of understanding for why ‘they’ stopped teaching cursive writing in school. Not only do we have a generation that cannot write in cursive, but guess what? They cannot read it either. I realized this recently when my 12-year-old mentee received a lovely note from a lady at church, and when he opened it, he told me that he could not read cursive. I gasped out loud and after I picked my chin off the floor, asked why, thinking silently ‘oh my goodness he is that far behind and is going in the sixth grade this year’! His answer is what floored me and made me think about this issue. He said, when he was in second grade, they stopped teaching it. Wow. I wonder if ‘they’ thought of the consequences before making such a rash decision? Who decided for the world that this would stop anyway? How else are we going to recognize who has doctor  potential?! (Insert cheesy grin)

I remember not particularly liking my signature or the way I wrote certain letters for most of my youth, so I decided to work on the skill to improve it. I spent a lot of time practicing achieving a standard I considered acceptable. I still write a lot of handwritten notes personally and professionally and I know some others who do too. But this is another thing that is fading away as technology overshadows it. I still enjoy sending (and receiving) them. Am I the only person who sees this as a problem or at the very least a sad reality that our up-and-coming kids will not be able to write a nice, cursive letter to anyone much less read one they receive from our generation? I will be very careful as I step down from my soap box as to not stumble. But I thought this was worth sharing with you.

This reminded me of the letters in the Bible. 21 out of the 27 books in the New Testament are in the form of letters. Thirteen of them were written by Apostle Paul, (called the Pauline letters), for a specific purpose and were read aloud to the congregations he sent them to. Although he used an assistant whom he dictated some of his letters, he did however, write a portion of them in his own hand. The NT letters were generally divided into three parts: the address (which consisted of the identification of the person writing the letter and who it was to, an opening greeting, and prayer), the body (held different elements depending on the purpose), and the conclusion (final blessings and greetings to specific acquaintances).[1] Consider the time, effort, and thoughtfulness that went into each heartfelt, Spirit-lead, letter. Once it was finished it had to be hand delivered to its recipients. What an intriguing artistry to appreciate as we re-read each one and consider what was involved in its development. With mailboxes at our front doors, pen, and paper at our disposal, we surely take for granted and do not appreciate the magnificent design and gift we have at our fingertips.

[1]  Brand, Chad, et.al., eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, B & H Publishing. Nashville, TN, 2015.

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