I’m a dinosaur.

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Karen Haviland says so long, longhand in a lament to disappearing penmanship.

Maybe I am finally becoming a dinosaur. I always thought myself fairly open to technology despite coming from a generation that didn’t have computers in school, cell phones or tablets at their ready reach.

In fact, I love technology and the challenge it often presents to me. Technology forces me keep current and thus embrace the world of today. After all, the way in which technology is rapidly expanding demands that in some fashion I must keep up or be doomed to become the very dinosaur that I accused my parents and their parents of being.

Despite my efforts, I have finally concluded that I really am from the dinosaur age. That conclusion jumped out at me last week when I was reading a newspaper.

There, in bold print, was a news article stating that cursive writing was becoming obsolete. In fact, some school districts have, or are considering, either dropping cursive writing lessons completely or making them an option.

What? Really?

This is mind-boggling to me and it’s hard to sort out why, exactly that is. Is this a knee jerk reaction to change or is it real distaste at the thought of forever losing a very real human skill?

I well remember labouring to master the art of cursive writing, my head bowed down and eyes boring into the paper beneath my pencil. Most often my tongue stuck out of my mouth as I concentrated to get the writing just right. Perfect penmanship was something to strive for and be proud of.

And when I did achieve that goal, when my paper was returned to me with a bright red A or A+ scrawled across the top, the feeling of pride and accomplishment was almost too much to contain. Even now it brings a smile to my face.

There is the argument that with cell phones, texting and computers at their use, today’s children have no need of such archaic skills as cursive handwriting. In fact, say some, a printed signature is just as valid as a written signature on any document.

That might be so, but what about the argument that some things of beauty should be preserved whether they are outdated or not?

Sure, I am grateful for technology which allows me, with a few quick keystrokes to connect with friends and family worldwide. But I can’t help feeling nostalgic about the intimacy of a written letter sent especially to me. Or about looking at my mother’s written signature and still feeling close to her although she’s been gone almost 12 years. I’m sure a piece of printed out paper with the words “Love Mom” at the bottom won’t quite pull at my heartstrings the way that her written words always do when I occasionally come across them.

I understand the logic behind cursive being obsolete; educators believe computer skills are more current for students and class time is better spent preparing today’s students for today’s world.

But if a student can’t write cursive, can that same student then decipher cursive?

Up until most recently a good portion of our history is filled with cursive documents. Although I suppose there will be cursive to text translations, I can’t help wondering what might get lost in the process.

Is cursive as obsolete as learning to churn butter or darn socks?

I hope not, for if it is, I believe we are doomed to have a society which, in its speed to put the old school behind it and race towards the technological future, will have missed out on the indefinable, yet very real things that having such cursive richness offers. Even now.

And I guess that way of thinking makes me a true dinosaur, as irrelevant as some believe cursive writing to be.

Just Posted

Castlegar council set to rule on three retail cannabis proposals

Residents have until Dec. 27 to comment on the business proposals

West Kootenay police take 18 impaired drivers off the road

Eight drivers were criminally impaired, says Sgt. Badry from West Kootenay Traffic Services

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Nelson-area man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Snowfall warning across the West Kootenay

A strong Pacific frontal system had Environment Canada issuing a snowfall advisory early Tuesday

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Warning issued as forecast calls for 20-foot waves in Tofino

Dangerous waves, strong currents and upper-shoreline flooding expected for Tofino-Ucluelet area

An 800-pound pig named Theodore needs a forever home, B.C. society says

‘Theodore is not destined to be somebody’s bacon’

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Most Read