Writing in Cursive March 17, 2023
I often hear people my age and older bemoaning the fact that children are no longer taught writing in cursive in school. Aside from the fact that people’s signatures look silly if they aren’t written in cursive – riddle me this. Why, exactly do they need to learn?
These are kids who know how to work a computer by the time they are three. They can thumbtype faster than most people can type on a full-sized keyboard. Their schoolwork is done on a computer, their communication done on a phone. Other than, “I had to learn and so shall you,” why do they need to know? These are not people who are going to sit down and hand write a letter to anyone. On the off chance they write an old-fashioned thank you note, print will suffice.
Even their signatures are not usually done with a pen. On-line signing programs have obliterated the need for signatures. Mobile banking takes care of their checks. I have met actual graduated-and-passed-the-bar lawyers who don’t know how to physically fill out a check. At first, I thought, “What? How is that possible?” But then I realized it made perfect sense. If your whole life exists in the internet age, why bother learning how to do things the long way?
Learning how to write in cursive is about as useful to these whippersnappers as learning to sharpen a quill would have been for me. Sure – a quaint skill I could use if I wanted to, but not strictly necessary for writing.
Truthfully, the older I get, the more abysmal my handwriting becomes. I have a tremor and so there are some odd spikes in my letters. Plus, I lose patience with longhand. I can type about a hundred words a minute – I can write maybe thirty on a good day. Writing slows me down and significantly hinders my ability to read what I wrote later on. And think about this – would you rather have a young doctor who writes your lifesaving prescriptions out in unreadable script, or would you rather she type it in precisely? Is that a one or a seven? An ‘s’ or a 5?
There’s lots of things we don’t learn anymore. I never learned how to use a slide rule because I had a calculator. I don’t know how to saddle a horse or fix a wagon wheel, but I do know how to drive a car and change a tire. My kids’ inability to work a cassette recorder hasn’t affected their lives one whit.
So yeah, I think it’s funny that younger folks don’t know what to do with a page of script handwriting, but they also think it’s funny that I have no idea how to edit videos on TikTok. Sure, I can learn, but so can they. And which one of us is more likely to need the other’s skill?
Hint: Does anyone know a user-friendly editing program?
 Officially called “Essential Tremor” or “ET”, though I can promise you there is nothing essential about it.
Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Asked in the First Place” was awarded the Gold Medal for humor in the Foreword INDIES awards in 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here. If you want Lori to help you market your book, click here.
Writing in Cursive