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GUEST COLUMN: The warmth of handwriting

There is an alarming trend these days to eliminate the teaching of “handwriting” in our schools in favor of teaching young students “keyboarding” to accommodate using a computer. A lot of us shake our heads sadly when we see the childish way in which grown adults sign their name or fill out forms.  

The world has lost one of its most necessary art forms — one that was used for doing business, writing letters and leaving notes for the milkman — beautiful handwriting. Not too many years ago school children were graded on their letter forms, and as they graduated into higher grades they were taught ‘cursive’ handwriting.  It took practice-hand-to-eye coordination, if you will.  

Well ... I say let’s put down that game controller and pick up a pencil or pen, and start learning how satisfying it is to see your thoughts come alive in words as your pen flows across the paper.  Why not take a few moments each week to practice this new skill by hand writing a letter to a friend or loved one. Remember our soldiers overseas, remember a neighbor that is now in a nursing home; send a thank you note to someone who touched your life with kindness. It’s exciting to reach into your mail box and find a letter or card that was personally addressed — not with the font of a computer, but with the handwriting of a living soul.  

When you think about it, Personal Computers (PCs) are really not very personal. E-mails are a wonderful way to keep in touch with family and friends, and they certainly have revolutionized the way we do business. But there is nothing ... not one single thing ... computers can do that tops the sincerity and warmth one feels when seeing the handwritten words of that special someone and knowing they cared enough to take the time to write it themselves.

After all, when the electricity goes out so does the computer printer.  Handwriting is not dictated by the whims of modern conveniences. All it takes is a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. Try it next time a birthday rolls around and you’re tempted to send that E-card. Keep a set of blank cards in your underwear drawer and pull one out when you have a tender message to share with someone. Remember, handwritten letters can be burned, but digitally transmitted letters can be easily traced within a computer! 

Pick up that pen, create your own unique ‘font’ and let the real you out come out from behind the ‘computer processor’.  Let your individualism shine forth. The world will be a better place for it. 

SUE STERLING is a resident of Brainerd and a member of the Colleagues of Calligraphy.