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Certified in excellence since May 27, 1970.

I’ve been thinking about this subject for a very long time. And I do get it, it’s probably not very important in the grand scheme of life.

In my humble opinion, there is something about putting a pen to paper. For those of us who went to grade school back in the 60’s, learning cursive writing wasn’t an option.

But then I had a thought: if you aren’t taught cursive writing, how can you read it? So many of history’s documents have been written in cursive, including all of our founding documents here in the United States. My current research shows that at this time, 21 states require some sort of training on the subject. But now there are artificial intelligence apps that can transcribe cursive text into normal printing. I’d hate to be a teacher today, way too many ways for students to cheat.

I’ve always taken my handwriting and printing seriously. Maybe a bit too seriously. But I consider my signature my imprimatur.  My sanction, my approval. Or even my “John Hancock.” Believe me, when I write a hand-written check and sign it, the tellers at the bank literally pass it around to marvel at it.

If you read my earlier post on manufacturing, I made the case there that students need to learn the old ways first, before being exposed to computer-aided design and machinery. There’s no “back” button on a drafting board. You either get really good at drafting, or really good at erasing. But you can’t cheat. Every line stroke is important, and you learn to draw them lightly first so it’s much easier to erase them if you made a mistake. Once you’re satisfied with your concept, you grab that #2B lead and darken the lines. It required a lot more thought. A very slow process by today’s standards, but definitely worth learning.

I’m honestly not sure what my case really is here. I guess that I’m a believer in the concept that using your hands to create a signature or a personal note is a skill that connects your brain to your hands, instead of your brain to a keyboard. Honestly, learning cursive writing is almost like learning a second language. But I have to say that I cringe when I see a handwritten note written by an adult that looks like it’s scribbling from a seven-year-old.

If I were a teacher today, I would insist that all major reports or essays would be written in cursive. Good luck with using AI or “cutting and pasting” articles from the internet. Once they master that, maybe let them start using a keyboard again. Or maybe not.

I’ll end with this: if the Declaration of Independence were to be written today, it would look something like this:

Here’s the original:

Which one looks like a serious document? There’s no comparison. The time it took to painstakingly write the headline, centering all of the text by eye, and then the pressure of using a fountain pen to write the entire document without a mistake or an ink blot is remarkable. And the signatures are from serious men who were literally putting their fame and fortune on the line.

At least learn how to sign your name like a grownup. I’ll be watching.

And that’s just my 2 cents. I have to yell at some kids who are on my lawn.



Phil Kerner

Phil Kerner

Phil Kerner is a life-long Erie, Pennsylvania resident. Married to The Queen, father of four sons, grandfather to Gracie Mae.