In spite of the fact that I prefer computer generated documents over hand-written ones . . .
In spite of the fact that I communicate far more via email, phone, and texting than I do via the US mail . . .
In spite of the fact that I consistently choose to do my own writing on the computer . . .
In spite of the fact that cursive is being removed from the curriculum in public schools (and many home schools, too) . . .
in my home, we are still going to work on learning to read and write in cursive.
Last week my dad gave me a stack of old stuff that has been stored in his house for nearly 30 years. I had no idea that stuff even existed . . . letters from my best friend in middle school who moved away at the end of our 8th grade year, middle school yearbooks, high school yearbooks, a Paddington Bear storybook that was a reading prize from my 1st grade teacher, a book of nursery rhymes, and letters from my grandmother who died 17 years ago.
I chucked most of the stuff. I held on to the yearbooks so my kids could look at goofy pictures of me. I held on to the storybook and the nursery rhymes because I can't resist a good book. And I kept the letters from Grandma.
I read Grandma's letters. There were no profound words of wisdom from beyond the grave. There were only chatty lines about farming and travel and family. But in reading them I remembered Grandma. Oh! How I loved her! How I love her still! She loved me with a love that is eternal. In reading her letters, I feel safe and loved and connected.
That's why we're going to continue with cursive in our home. I want my kids to feel connected to the generations that have gone before. I want them to feel bigger than themselves. I want them to feel a sense of responsibility to family, to community, to heaven, to eternity. I want them to be able to read Grandma's letters, and Great-great-grandpa's letters (especially the love letters he sent to his sweetheart during WWI), and other documents from the past that show that they are part of an eternal family.
This morning Malachi 4:6 has been pounding in my head. I've been thinking about family history work. I love to do a bit of indexing of old records at familysearch.org. This means looking at copies of historical documents such as ship's manifests, census records, draft cards, etc. and typing out the hand-written information so that it can be stored in "free searchable indexes." The old records are usually written in cursive. Even though I was diligently taught cursive in my school years I find the records very hard to read. But, oh, the joy when I untangle an especially hard bit of handwriting and find a bit of someone's story!
Who will continue the work of finding our ancestors, our stories when no one can read or write in cursive any more?
So, it may be outdated. It may be old-fashioned. It may be only useful as a tool to understanding and unlocking stories of past people. But we are going to keep cursive in our homeschool curriculum.
I think those stories are worth knowing.