What next?

by Heather

Recently I was amazed to read that cursive handwriting is no longer being taught in schools. It turns out that’s not quite true, but it has been removed from our Common Core curriculum and is being taught less and less.

My handwriting, the way I’m writing this sentence now, in longhand, feels so personal, so much a part of me, that I find it difficult to believe that this could become a rare skill. After all, when I was in school, it was a major subject, one of the three Rs–reading, writing, ‘rithmetic.

How, I wonder, will they do handwriting analysis?! I suppose the aspects that depend on cursive might become obsolete.

I feel sure, though, that like calligraphy, cursive will survive as an art form at least. I suppose soon that having a pretty cursive hand will be charmingly old school. Instead of saying, I do needlepoint, or I watercolor, or I scrapbook, it will be, I do cursive.

Sigh.

This past weekend, I took homemade chocolate chip cookies to a neighborhood event. When a little girl came to get one and they were all gone, her mother said, “That’s all right, we can make some.”

“How?” says she.

“You get flour, butter, sugar …” I explained. She looked at me with a slight scowl, clearly not believing any of it, but too polite to say so.

I really do know there are far more important things that can be withheld from a child than home-baked cookies. I got the cookies, and there are certainly things I would trade them for.

But I have to admit there’s a little part of me that feels there is something very, very wrong when a child doesn’t know that you and I and she can take very simple ingredients like flour, sugar, and butter, and bake a little piece of heaven. To this little part of me, this kind of ignorance smacks of neglect.

If I ran the world, we’d have a whole lot less texting and McDonald’s–I assume this child could tell me where a Happy Meal comes from–and a whole lot more writing with a real pen and real paper, not to mention food made by people you know in that room of the house I still like to call the kitchen.

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