The death of handwriting?

I hope not but I fear perhaps this article is right.

At the very least, concern for good penmanship is out the window. My kids have deplorable handwriting and I tried, I really did. Elder Brother had 4 years of Catholic school but his handwriting is chickenscratch. Buster, coming up in a public school, where “penmanship” is considered an unimportant subject that makes children “feel bad about themselves” is simply illegible. I have no idea how his SAT essay even got read.

My husband and I, Catholic school kids, have greatly benefited from those patient and attentive sisters who made us labor over cursive writing. I learned the mysteries of the rosaries by copying them over and over in my notebook and Sr. Alice Ann’s praise for my b’s and f’s sent me over the moon. At 47, we still have clear, uncluttered penmanship, and we are always getting positive feedback on it, “what beautiful handwriting you have, for a man,” my hubby hears. There is always something elegant, intimate and lovely about recieving a hand-written note, but that is particularly true when you can see that the writer has taken the time to really work on his or her presentment. I understood just how real my neurological problems were when I saw lapses in my penmanship that I could not easily control. I still work on it.

When Buster was working in the rectory and had some spare time on his hands, I bought him a penmanship book meant for adults. It did help his printing, but his cursive writing is just…well, it’s horrific. I have no hopes it will get better, at this point.

Good Penmanship seems like a “little” thing, but to me, it’s always been an indicator of personal discipline and self-worth. The subject that “makes children feel bad about themselves” has probably, in the end, made a great many ex-Catholic school kids feel pretty good about themselves. On a day when nothing is going right, or I feel cruddy about something I’ve done, I can still scrawl a note and look at it and remember one of the first compliments my hubby paid me. It occured the day we met, as I wrote my number on a slip of paper. “You have a nice hand,” he said, “Catholic school, right?” I looked up and smiled at him, completely understanding his meaning! Sigh.

Related: Cursive Writing, Individuality, RIP

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About Elizabeth Scalia