Over the past three years I’ve become friends with Beth, a mother & wife who lives on our block. I’ll share basil from our garden with her and she’ll send her daughter over to play with the boys. She’ll ask what can she pick up for me at Target and I’ll ask her for the inside scoop on teachers at our neighborhood school. It’s a great relationship and one that grows with each season.
Yet, last week when I received both a written Thank You note and a card for Beatrice from Beth, it dawned on me that I had never seen her handwriting before.
Beth is a former teacher so it should have been no surprise that she writes with impeccable cursive, with a bit of D’Nealian. What did take me back was how moved I was to see this new part of her, Beth’s personal stamp, if you will. I had never realized or gave much thought to the fact that her handwriting was unknown to me up until that point. But after seeing it on paper it was another reminder of the value I place on handwriting. It has become personal.
And speaking of helpful neighbors, our friend Bryan, who lives next door, mentioned an article in Monday’s Business section all about the importance of handwriting. It’s a quick read but to sum it up, writer Steve Wilburs states “Students need to learn handwriting, even in this age of texting and keyboarding, because forming the letters by hand — shaping and creating them — slows them down, helps them think more clearly, brings them to a more intimate connection with language, makes them feel more committed to their words and helps them remember what they’ve written.” Thank you, Steve, for reminding us why it is important to keep our writing up, student or not.
Handwriting needs to be looked at as something which shapes our minds as well as what makes us all original. So why not write a quick note to a new friend or someone who has only heard your thoughts in person or via email. Your handwriting makes you unique. Even if your penmanship is not as lovely as Beth’s, it’s your personal mark that they’ll appreciate.