OK, time for an old lady rant

 

penmanship

Progress comes in different forms. Sometimes a thing that seems like progress to lots of people seems like craziness to others. Yes I love my computer and smart phone, cos they both connect me to parts of the big world that I wouldn’t be connected to otherwise.  But typed pages/messages etc aren’t everything. Technology marches on, but do many good things need to go away because of it?

A few years ago I became aware that they are no longer teaching cursive writing in many schools in this country.  A whole generation of kids is going to grow up not being able to read and write cursive, except to sign their names. The modern  philosophy of teaching kids thinks it’s wasteful to spend a year of a child’s early development teaching them to write with their hands.

Oh dear, cursive writing is not a foreign language, and shouldn’t be thought of as such. In other cultures, where countries use different alphabets, I doubt that they are ceasing to teach their children how to “write” in their own languages.

This hit me especially hard a couple weeks ago at our local historical society. Several college age volunteers and I were looking at old deeds; deeds from the 1800’s, written with quill pens in beautiful, flowing script.  We discussed that a whole new generation will now not be able to read the words that we read, written so long ago. It’s just one example of a seemingly unimportant thing in the big scope of everything that our world is today; one small historical society in an unimportant town. But it is an example of things to come.

We have journals of soldiers from the Civil War, and volunteers transcribe them and type them into a database.  The purpose of that is to preserve them in that they shouldn’t be handled much, since they’re already so old.  So, in a few years, what purpose will they have if people can’t read them if they want to? It won’t be as long ago then as modern people looking back at hieroglyphics is now; this will be 20 years from now.  History is lost with this idea, and that’s important.

Imagine what else will be lost with this.  Total dependence on our devices, with people not able to communicate in writing without them, or able to read whatever was written before. Is that really ok, and what we want as a country? Many states are fighting to retain the teaching of cursive writing.  An old lady hopes they will prevail.

Dependence on technology also shows itself each day in other ways.  If you spend $5.02 at the store, and realize at the last minute that you have two pennies, and hand them to a young cashier who has already entered $10 as the amount tendered, they look at you like you have a duck on your head. Frozen, unable to figure out what to do. There’s another technology dependence inherent in that situation: I’m discussing using cash, which many people already don’t do, and that seems to be more the way of the modern world too. Some young people also can’t read analog clocks. What a world we live in now. Technology……….

So, an old lady rant, which was one of the first things I said my blog would be about, this one about our advancing technology. It gets worse, the ranting that goes on in an old person’s thoughts, and sometimes I just have to write it down. Just some questions, out into the air……….

I’m not against technology, cos it’s how our world is, and we can go kicking and screaming but it won’t change.  But some old ways are so important that they need to be preserved.  Are we, the old people, and people interested in history for example, just the relics among the other relics, like old deeds and old journals: the things that teach us so much more than interpreting the script they are written in?

 

13 responses to “OK, time for an old lady rant

    • Tony Amish and old order Mennonites are all around me here, and are peaceful and happy members of our communities. We could all learn a lot from them.

  1. I love technology and how easily it connects us with people from all over the world in just seconds. But to be honest, I miss the days when we wrote letters and we have to wait for days to get an answer. Oh well, maybe my romantic and nostalgic heart is getting old…

    • Yes Herman mine too. And we know how to sit down with a pen and write those letters. And the 20ish year old volunteers that I discussed this with that day were equally sad that kids growing up now will miss all that. 😔

  2. Thank heaven my grand daughter wants very much to learn cursive writing. I’m teaching her. I was curious why she felt so strongly about learning so I asked her. Her answer surprised me. She said; so I can read all the journals and stories you wrote about the old people before you got a computer.

    • See, these 20ish kids are upset that in a few years no younger people will be able to read and write it. And your granddaughter understands the importance of it. It’s just not right. There is too much to be lost.

  3. I was also shocked to find out not long ago that children are no longer being taught cursive writing. Added to that, they can’t spell without wordcheck and they don’t seem to be able to do simple maths in their heads. I love technology too, but is this really progress? I enjoyed reading your post and I agree with you.

    • Thanks for you nice comments. Soon a generation will be dependent on technology. That’s a good point about spell check too, why should they really learn to spell! Grandma had a saying so long ago, that still fits so many situations: don’t put your eggs all in one basket. Kids wouldn’t get the basics of that idea now, a basket with eggs, but we’re allowing our kids to grown up with all their eggs in the technology basket. Sooner or later, I’m afraid that’s going to cost “us” more than we are able to pay in some way.

  4. So true. A well deserved rant. I have seen studies that demonstrate how different parts of the brain are activated by the different mediums. Writing should be essential. We should have reason to do both. You are right. Much is lost.

    • Too much will be lost Steve, and we won’t even realize, as a group, what all it is, for a long time. I can’t even imagine looking at written pages and having them feel foreign.

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