In my line of work, I meet strangers of every kind of profession. Recently, I participated in a short conversation with a pair of retired high school teachers. They had been public school teachers, if that makes a difference to this story. Initially, their conversation included serious concerns about the decline of face-to-face social interaction skills that everyone older than me takes for an absolute granted. The foundation of that concern is that because electronic communications are so much easier and accessible to use than having to ride your bicycle a few streets over to hang out with your friends, which is how things used to be. During the course of this conversation, I’d nod my head in sincere agreement, and they’d remark how I had no problem maintaining eye contact, but kids these days cannot. Or so they claimed.
But as these type of casual conversations tend to meander, so did this one and it landed on the topic of cursive writing.
I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three types of changes.
- Change that the majority of people agree is good and should happen.
- Change that the majority of people agree is bad and shouldn’t happen.
- Change that will not happen until old people die off.
This line of thinking came to me while contemplating gay marriage in this country, coming from a conservative Christian background. Initially, I thought that it was #2. Then my horizons opened up and realized that in the context of conservative Christianity, sure, it’s #2, but as far as America at-large, it’s really #1. As time continued to move forward, regardless of the viewpoint from a Christian perspective or a secular perspective- it’s really #3.
Cursive is also #3.
I had a decade of K12 teachers tell me that all of my college professors would reject my assignments outright unless they were written in cursive. Then I had years of college professors telling me they would reject my assignments outright if they weren’t typed, no, we don’t care if they’re cursive or printed, that doesn’t count as typed.
The two teachers continued to bemoan the inability of kids to learn cursive, then praised the speed at which writing can happen while using cursive, that’s why it was invented after all. I didn’t bother fact checking to see why cursive even exists to start with, because I, frankly, did not and do not care. In that polite conversation, I would not disagree with these women, but cursive is dying, and print is just behind it as well. Typing is where it is at.
I can type much faster than I can write. Everything that I type with checks to make sure that I’ve not misspelled things, which helps with clarity. And because I cannot mis-form a letter, that helps with clarity as well.
In conclusion with this line of thinking, I’d like to believe that I’m, not yet, in the group of the old folks who just don’t get the signs of the times, but inevitably I have to be in that group.