Sometime in 2013 I caught on that cursive writing was becoming like the dinosaur—extinct.Recent searches provide articles on all sides of the question—to handwrite or not to handwrite. The consensus seems to be: There’s no easy answer. Some say writing by hand (not printing) helps the brain perform better; others say that's not proven.
I’m not for or against teaching cursive writing in our schools. If it were left up to me, I’d teach cursive writing . . . just because. But I can live with either way.Other things/notions/points of view/activities, however, may be disappearing from our culture. These seem to me to be critical. But that may just be my oddball look at the world.
Take clocks and watches. Do clockwise and counter-clockwise mean anything nowadays? I mean, besides those of us over, say, age forty? I’m completely in love with my digital clocks and watches, but I do know what it means to turn a handle in a clockwise direction.Then there’s doing math by hand. Remember that? You used a pencil (so you could erase if you made a mistake) and did sums and subtraction and multiplication and division (even long division) on paper. If you’d gotten through fifth grade you knew about decimals and percentages and how to use them. A few years ago a friend confided that she doubted if she could add or subtract by hand—the calculator does it for her. Well, mine does it for me, too, but I still like to do the whole process by hand. I like to think it helps my synapses keep on keeping on.
For the past year or two my church has been looking for an organist-choirmaster. The few inquiries we had were a revelation—some wondered why we had an organ, when electronic pianos were the way to go; or else there were bands for contemporary services. (We don’t have either of those. Band or contemporary service.)And just yesterday I drove south of my small city toward a larger city and noticed the number of For Sale signs on farmland. Too often those are purchased by developers. We have more and more new homes—large ones, medium-sized ones—out in the country, built on what was once productive farmland. It grieves me to see the land disappear. (Of course the land itself doesn't disappear, but its usage changes in ways that make me uncomfortable.)
-----I can’t do much about keeping life status quo. Not Life in the sense of our culture or everybody’s life. And I’m not a hidebound negativist. (Yes, there is such a word--Merrian-Webster's 10th Edition says so.)
But I can do my part to keep my own life enriched by activities that are meaningful to me and, often, to my family. Here are some things I hope will never disappear:· Print books
· Hand-written, or typed, personal letters
· Hand-knit garments and covers
· Home-canned veggies, fruit, meats, and jellies/jams
· Using our brains
· Doing word and number puzzles
· Playing with kids
· Helping our neighbors
· Giving our time/talent/treasure to help people we don’t know, who are in need
· Respect for one another
-----To end on a happier note than I began, I’ll list here some things I know or believe will never disappear from the scene:
· Love of all kinds
· Strength in times of need
These remind me to give thanks that sometimes change is good; sometimes it’s not so good; and in either case, Life goes on.