For lasting impact, writers should not forget the lasting power of handwritten connections

“Is that right?” the young girl asks.

“Close,” I respond, looking down on the small swirling letter that she has written. “Just try and curve around a little bit more. Like this.”

She watches as I once again trace the letter across the paper while showing her an old but useful skill and handing her back the pencil as I watch her try again and again.

Watching her learn to write cursively makes me realize a very present truth in our coming age. Many young children of her age will no longer have the chance to learn this once well used language and art. In recent times, teaching rules have changed and no longer require teaching students how to read and write cursive writing.

The language of our past has started to erase from our lives as well as our old ways. In a world of technological advances and discovery, it’s not favorable to look back.

Now, passing an elementary school as the final bell rings, you’ll see a multitude of children walking out with their heads down looking upon electronic devices. This in many ways disturbs me. While I can understand the amazing quality of technology connecting people from all spans of the world to each other in a matter of moments, it takes many things from the quality of life that the past held. A handwritten letter filled with passion and care, a trip into an unknown country with a diverse culture that you learn about on your own, an old face that you haven’t seen or heard from in years, family meals without anything to supplement the conversation other than the days events.

In our world we may be farther than ever in our technological advances, but we’ve lost a part of humanity that makes our lives liveable. Remembering the past is important to our future.

Each time that we allow the past to be ignored, it fades, becoming a distant memory.

While cursive writing may seem a small part of our past, I see it differently. I picture a soldier reading a letter from a smalltown girl he hasn’t seen in multiple years. I imagine a young girl scribbling her Christmas list on a sheet of pink paper or a 16-year-old girl running home to check the mailbox for another letter from the boy a town over. I see the signatures written upon the bottom of a piece of parchment calling for our independence.

Words — spoken, written, shouted, painted — have shaped our past and will affect our future.

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