Yes, I know how to correctly spell nincompoop. That brilliance aside, let's discuss this article. (Okay, it helped that I just read it in the name of the article, but I would like to think that I would have known how to spell it, even if I had not just read it. We'll never know.)
Click me to read the article.
It raises some interesting points. I assume I am part of the group raising the rising generation, because I did know how to tie my shoes before I went to school (I think I did at least . . . Mom?), I know what to do with an ice tray, and I am very adept at addressing an envelope.
However it was sad to think about how much "common" knowledge gets lost every generation. Or is it sad? Surely the rising generation has new skills that the old generation does not have. Computers are the first thing that comes to my mind. And is it really vital to know how to ride a horse anymore? Fun? Yes. Vital? No.
One part of her article that really surprised me was where she seemingly nonchalantly included cursive as an unnecessary skill for the future generation. I love cursive. I became a little feisty when I read that. However, as I thought about it longer, I had to wonder.
I keep a real journal that I write in almost every day. I have volumes of them. I began seriously at age 12, but I have a few that my parents helped me write or teachers forced me to write when I was even younger. The majority of these journals are written entirely in cursive. Cursive is just faster than print.
When I was in school, cursive was mandatory course of study. When my mother was in school, she took a class in short hand. Consequently, at least one of her old notebooks is written in shorthand. She mentioned a year or so ago (upon finding that notebook) that she wished she remembered how to read shorthand better, so she could read what she wrote.
Now obviously, shorthand is much further away from every day print than cursive is, but it has not always been so. I had the privilege of working in the special collections section of my university's main library. While there, I spent over a year reading journals from around the 1850s to the 1930s. These were mostly written in cursive, but a different cursive than we have today. Certain symbols were written differently, certain letters were written differently, and some letter combinations had a sign all of their own. So sometimes, it was difficult to decipher. Those changes happened over decades though. Will my own journals be difficult to decipher in just two decades?
And even today, I worry when I write a cursive Q that some people will think I wrote a 2.
I was reading a book the other day that is based just over a hundred years ago, and those who could not write simply put an X for their signatures. I have friends today whose signatures are either almost exactly like their print or have some symbols involved. I assumed they either didn't like cursive or thought the symbols were artistic or fun. After reading that article, I simply wonder if they do not know cursive.
Is cursive dying? I already knew the English language was dying (thanks to this article my friend shared with me), but I saw that coming. However, I did not notice the dying last gasps of breath of cursive, and I am mourning it a bit.
So, do you know how to write in cursive? Do you enjoy writing in cursive? Or are you shouting Hallelujah and Good Riddance at the possibility that cursive may be a lost art with this rising generation?
Something in the article also made me think of my father. It mentioned that there are college aged students who have never taken a bus alone. Now, part of me wonders if they just grew up in the country where buses were not necessary or always had a car. However, I do believe that my generation—and I'm sure the next—are much less frequently alone in public transportation than previous generations.
When my father was in the eighth and tenth grades, he went to a boarding school in the East. His parents also lived in the East, in a nearby state. During his two years at boarding school, my father would come home to visit his parents. To do this, part of his trip involved arriving in New York City at one train depot and then leaving New York City on a different train depot. He navigated the trip there, the ride from one depot to the other, and then the trip to his parents' house all on his own. I don't know how many eighth graders are allowed to do that these days. Is our world that much less safe or are parents just that much less willing to allow their children to strike out on their own or are children that less capable of handling situations on their own (without smart phones or even regular cell phones)?
When telling me this story, he related having recently watched a Shirley Temple movie where it showed her hitchhiking in the middle of the night. He mused that when the movie came out, moviegoers probably chuckled at her cuteness and tenacity whereas if that scene had occurred in movie today it might be to illustrate neglectful—or even abusive—parenting.
Interesting how the world changes.
And it always does. We can't stop it, and should we? I like bathrooms and running water as much as the next person. I enjoyed being able to wear shorts and T-shirts, and I loved playing sports. So, while some change makes me sad, because I miss something that is on its way out, I do enjoy many of the new changes (like this blog!).
Did anything from the article make you happy or sad to see it go?