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Handwriting - Is This a Dying Art?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 3

Do you practice handwriting? This may seem like a simple question.

Don't be surprised, if you answer no. With the advance of technology, the art of handwriting, is actually a bit of a dying one!

I didn't realize just how bad it was, until I had sent my nephew a wedding present this past summer. Instead of a thank you card, I got thanked on face book and a text message sent to me! I was a bit surprised. Glad to hear from him so quickly, but, still surprised.

Although I still believe in the traditions of saying thank you with thank you cards, it seems to be going by the wayside. I thought it was very impersonal to send thanks via face book for all to see, and a text. It doesn't have the same personal touch that a handwritten card, addressed to me, would have had. But he said to me "this gets to you quicker"

But one of the most disturbing parts of all this, was when I got him to write something, it actually looked quite childish, more printing that writing. Have we got so far away from pen and paper now, that we are out of practice?

He is 27 years old, and he tells me that he NEVER writes to anyone with a pen, it is either through email (he can type as fast as anyone) or text messaging on his cell phone.

My other nephews that are younger, all use word processors, that automatically do a spell check, and this is how they correspond as well, although he tells me it is mostly by text, and using text short forms. He also tells me, that his mother asked him to send a thank you card to a relative, and he found it to be a pain to actually handwrite a thank you.

He asked me, why we bother with handwriting anymore?

I told him it was the only way to really communicate at one time. I still have stacks of letters from when my husband was in the air force. We would write back and forth, because long distance telephone calls, were a huge expense. Not like the cheaper packages you can get today for long distance. Long distance calls used to be kept for emergencies, or special occasions.

Teachers, used to try very hard to make sure your handwriting was legible! We used to have pen pals, who you would write too all the time, and then watch for the mailman to bring you a letter from your pal. I guess I am dating myself a wee bit here! But gradually, over time, as first long distance telephone calls got cheaper, people called more. Then as more technology showed up, we have gradually moved along to emails, internet, social media sites, and especially now with text messages on the cell phones.

Now just like watching out for the passing of secret notes to friends in the classroom, they now have to watch out for students, secretly text messaging their friends. Things have changed and yet stay the same!

A friend of mine teaches at university, and one day she looked outside on the benches on a beautiful day, and saw a lot of students with their heads down, as if reading books. She looked closer, and realized that none of them were speaking with each other, but actually text messaging!

Handwriting skills, do not get the same practice as they once did. My nephew prints, if he has to write anything at all. He will even make a "to do list" on his blackberry! instead of the quick lists we may write down on that scrap of paper, or that grocery list. A friend of mine goes through her kitchen and then types in the grocery list into her phone..

I guess this makes life a lot easier, but my nephew tells me, that after a few lines of writing, his hand cramps up, and he says he can't get the thoughts out of his head fast enough onto the paper. He looks as awkward as a fish out of water! But give him a keyboard, and he would win any speed typing competition! He said typing was the best subject he ever took.

My husband finds emails painful, as he didn't take typing, so he is a two finger typer, and would rather write by hand.

So, I guess I will have to get used to some of these new ways of communicating. I am just as guilty, I carry a cell phone around, and I text the odd message, once my daughter taught me how to do it. It does come in handy sometimes, but I still enjoy getting letters in the mail, and writing letters.

When was the last time you got a letter in the mail? In handwriting that you could read and not typewritten? Or are you getting any letters in the mail at all? I mostly get junk mail, and any contact from friends and family is usually with email. But I do miss getting a good letter in the mail. As older relatives have passed on, this art of handwriting seems to be fading. No longer are we waiting expectantly for the mailman to deliver messages from far away. That used to be the exciting part of pen pals, especially when they were from other countries. You couldn't wait to get a letter from them.

But with Christmas coming, I have been getting a trickle of cards coming in, with handwritten addresses and greetings inside. It is still nice to see some traditions are still carrying on. But I am now getting some "online Christmas greetings" so I am sure one day the cards will be less and less.

But the good side to all of this, is that you are more likely to keep in touch with friends and relatives no matter where they are, as long as there is internet. Which would have been difficult 25 years ago.

But I still wouldn't mind a card in handwriting once in a while!



Dec 12, 2009 8:44pm
They are no longer teaching cursive handwriting at many schools, including my children's school. Printing only? Really? I think it is becoming a lost art.
Dec 13, 2009 2:15pm
My handwriting was terrible in school (I am left-handed). When I was a senior I enrolled in art class to learn calligraphy, and it has changed my life! Now my handwriting is beautiful and legible--and sometimes you still need it, such as when exchanging business cards and writing down someone's alternate email on the back.

Of course, I am older, but I think being able to write legibly is very important and should be practiced. I wish that I had the time to practice but I'm writing a book and type and research all day!
Dec 16, 2009 10:37am
I am always appalled when I put pen to paper. My writing is ilegible unless printed. It is such a shame as when I was in college with friends scattered across the country, and no internet, I thoroughly enjoyed letter writing.

Now though the only letters I send are to my sister as she can read my scribbles and I can just about read hers. It is a shame but hardly surprising when we are all much better typists than ever before!
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