July 16th, 2019

Reiss’s Pieces


One of my favorite memories of being young and in school, was when I was in third grade. I can vividly remember the thrill of learning that we would not only learn how to write in cursive, we would learn by using ink! How excited I was when each one of us got a glass jar filled with ink that was placed in the inkwell on our desk. And then we were each given a wooden stick which we used to put a nib or metal pen tip in the end.. Oh, the joy of being able to use such a wonderful instrument!

Of course as we began to practice, using the Palmer Method, the excitement did begin to wane! I don’t know about other schools, but in our school you had to practice your different wiggles and waggles and you were not able to make one single blotch on your paper. If you did, you had to begin all over again. And there was no excuse for anyone… you had to learn to do your exercises without one single error. Of course, I would like to mention that all of us did eventually learn how to do what was demanded and all of us could write in cursive my the end of the third grade.

What I find most interesting and I think really, really dumb is that teaching children to write cursive seems to no longer be deemed necessary! When I asked a teacher that I know why cursive wasn’t going to be taught any more, she said it was because children can now use a computer and handwriting isn’t needed. Well, I think that is a terrible reason! I have seen older students who can no longer write in cursive and they print whatever they need to put down on paper. And, of course, I always wonder what John Hancock or the other signers of the Declaration of Independence would have done if they couldn’t have signed their name. For me, if they had had to print, it just wouldn’t be the same!

My other big grievance is this, do we still teach our young children how to tell time? I don’t think so. Now, I do understand that many watches are now digital but digital or not, I still think that children should be taught how to tell time on a regular good old clock. Two of my oldest grandsons were both asked to be in a family wedding party, and for their service they were both given a gold pocket watch. They were both thrilled and could hardly keep their eyes off them for the rest of the day. And to tell you the truth, I was so pleased that they could actually tell the time on their  thoughtful presents. I did notice, however, that several of the younger children who were in attendance, couldn’t! they all had watches but the little boys had digital ones.

Who is it that decides that things like cursive writing and learning how to tell time on an old-fashioned clock are no longer needed? I think that is a huge mistake and those who will actually suffer without those skills are our children. I would love to be in the room when those decisions to eliminate those skills are made. Or maybe not!

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