Column: Handwriting and why it’s so important

Whether your handwriting is beautiful or messy, why not pick up a pen and show someone you care.


Is handwriting just for the timid these days? Computers seem to be running the world. Why would anyone want to communicate using handwriting instead of zapping out a quick email or text message? Why waste a child’s time teaching them to learn cursive writing instead of keyboarding? Let me tell you why.

Sue Sterling
Sue Sterling

For the young minds it improves focus and comprehension. For older minds it improves memory and relieves stress, depression and anxiety. It also slows down mental aging. For growing minds it stimulates the brain and helps it develop. Everyone benefits when writing by hand because it boosts creativity and improves hand-to-eye coordination. It also improves self-expression, and can make you a better writer.

The Sumerians started communicating in writing about 3100 BCE, and we can still read what they wrote. In the 1970s the government started using computers to communicate between locations, and it expanded to the general public for day-to-day communicating in the 1980s. Ever since then we’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of technology advancements leaving us feeling dizzy. We’ve gone from chalkboards to smart screens, from typewriters to keyboarding, and postal service to emails.

Granted, technology has made life easier and faster, but the three Rs are still a necessary part of learning. Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic can all be done by computers now, but there are still advantages of doing those three things using your brain. Like the old saying goes, “use it or lose it,” and Artificial Intelligence will rule the world if we don’t teach our children how to think!

According to the story “ 16 powerful benefits of writing by hand ” published on the Vanilla Papers website: “Cursive is important for cognitive development because it trains the brain to use different parts of the mind for different functions. Children learning cursive use fine motor skills and visual and tactile processing abilities that help their cognitive function.”


Let’s look at handwriting from a more human perspective. Isn’t it nice to go to your mailbox and find a nice handwritten letter instead of just bills and flyers? A handwritten letter means that someone truly cares about you. You can read a letter over and over again by just picking up the paper it’s written on, and tuck it away for future reading. Privacy is almost a thing of the past because everything shared via computer can be hacked into, with or without your knowledge. Many a love letter has been cherished throughout the centuries. What will this century bring us to improve the human condition?

Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, was chosen as National Handwriting Day because that is the birthday of John Hancock, who penned his name so elaborately on the United States Constitution so many years ago. Whether your handwriting is beautiful or messy, why not pick up a pen and show someone you care.

Sue Sterling, a Brainerd resident, is a regular contributor to Brainerd Dispatch publications.

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