We live in a time that we have access to just about anything at our very fingertips. With the touch of a button or a screen, we can connect to the other side of the world. Technology has allowed for incredible advancements within our societies, on a number of levels. Technology has quickened the pace at which the world operates, and because of it we continue to witness some of the greatest inventions and developments that humans have ever seen. And it appears that this could just be the beginning of discovering just what we are capable of.
But are we losing too much by advancing so quickly? There are traditions that are being abandoned in the name of technology and advancement. And while progress is, of course, incredibly vital, losing who we are or forgetting how we got here could be dangerous and ill-advised.
What are we losing by advancing?
Take for example the practice of developing and polishing our handwriting skills. So many schools have already abandoned teaching students how to write in cursive, and more and more homework assignments are done on a computer. There are benefits to students using technology, of course. But by deserting such basic skills, will we see mankind slowly start to forget these simple practices altogether? It has been estimated that about 20% of children in the United Kingdom has never once received a letter in the mail that was handwritten. That is far too many children who have never known the joy of that personal, heartfelt gesture. Docmail, which is a printing and mailing company that is based in the United Kingdom, showed in one study that about 33% of people had trouble deciphering their own handwriting! That same study revealed that over 30% of those who were involved with the study had not been required to create anything handwritten in over six months.
Celebrating tradition by encouraging the art of handwriting
Handwriting analysts can tell a lot by a person’s handwritten script. There can be personality in our handwriting, and it keeps us connected not only to tradition but to some of our earliest ancestors who first started figuring out ways to record stories and history and expression. Even if your fingers have only ever written by tapping the keys of a keyboard, there is something inherently beautiful and nostalgic about envisioning scroll paper and a feather pen set, carefully scratching out a message, to be finished off with an envelope wax seal. Even today, as the fastest thumbs can send out a text in seconds, there is a market for vintage desk accessories that help people connect with the beauty and simplicity of the handwritten word. Who wouldn’t like to use a feather pen set, if just for the feel of something completely different than what we are now used to?
Getting your good penmanship back with writing quills
Just about any book lover will tell you that while they enjoy the ease and convenience of being able to access their personal library on one device, it simply is not the same as holding bound pages in your hands. The same could be said for creating the written word as well. Children are learning typing skills almost as early as they’re learning to hold and use a pencil, and many people can type much faster than they can write with pen and paper. But when it comes to the actual enjoyment of it, would you go for your keyboard or a feather pen set? It’s perfectly fine if you have let your penmanship go a bit, it was bound to happen as you started using keyboards more frequently. But it can be recovered again and improved.
Every year on January 23rd, the United States celebrates John Hancock’s birthday with National Handwriting Day. You don’t have to like your handwriting, you don’t have to be proud of your cursive, you don’t even have to use a feather pen set. But help to keep the tradition alive. Write a letter instead of an email. Jot a note instead of a text. Be proud of this ability that we have, and encourage others to keep developing their own handwriting as well.