The devolution of my signature is pretty horrifying. What used to be two elegant-looking words strung together at the end of any document I needed to sign, has devolved into one frantic, messy line. What happened? We started using computers and stopped using pens – that’s what. Although I realize it really isn’t practical for students to learn cursive writing anymore – I don’t care.Kids should know how to read any document written in English.
The signature, the ability to sign one’s own name with grace and confidence, has long been an essential marker of society. Today more and more I meet high school students who, though they can read, sometimes well and sometimes poorly, are ashamed whenever they are confronted with the need to sign a document. Students are sometimes too embarrassed to admit that they can’t read a piece of an important historical document or the comments of a teacher who writes in script. Script is not seen by students as some quaint relic of the past. Even among kids for whom academic achievement is hardly “cool,” students recognize the pedigree that the knowledge of the cursive alphabet and the ability to write it fluently represent. Cursive has become a status marker.
I think we are doing kids a huge disservice by not teaching them cursive. Shouldn’t all students be able to read historical documents, too? It’s not like I walk around reading historical documents all day, but I think it’s important to recognize writing in your own language. Am I just crazy for thinking kids should be able to read the Constitution without needing it translated? I get that we are moving more and more towards the exclusive use of computers and kids need to be taught proficiency with a keyboard – I just don’t understand why one needs to replace the other.
Connecting words is a quicker and easier way to write. Until we are at the point where computers have taken the place of pens and paper in all schools, we’re not doing students any favors by skipping over this skill. I took pride in my signature when I was younger. Kids should be able to experience this. You know – the cycle of life; create a signature, sign it with pride, get older and start using it more and more, become lazy and have it devolve into a messy line with no discernible characteristics.
It may be archaic – but I would hate to see it totally die.
(photo: Getty Images)