She has a new obsession. Once you learn how to write your name, the graffiti-urge takes over. You write it on paper, in the sand, with paint - I envision the child's inner Julie Andrews twirling about while singing: "The hills are alive ... with the beautiful letters of my name!"
What a fantastic moment.
As a child, did a good part of your doodle-time consist of trying out different ways to write your name? I remember going through the peer-pressure induced "the dot over the 'i' in Meggie must have a heart" phase. Or the dramatic cursive slant that mirrored my "I'm a deep-thinking artist" phase at age 16. Then came the default scribble with a hint of an "M" post-secondary. My handwriting turned out to be more like my father's than I would have ever dared to imagine.
All of this talk of handwriting makes me nostalgic. Even in my generation, beautiful handwriting is not a staple. We are the masters of the keyboard. How wonderful would it be to exchange handwritten letters with a loved one? Of course, we all sign our names and write in a few cutesy sentences in birthday cards. But when was the last time you poured out your soul onto paper? I personally can't recall. I do all of my emotional release in person, on the phone, or through email.
And this makes me wonder - will my children ever handwrite much more than their names? What society doesn't necessitate - does it become needless, with little value? After all, the written word is powerful, possessing the ability to transmit thoughts and feelings across space and time. But, of course, this can be done just as easily with the help of a computer keyboard.
Many answer-less questions. What I am certain of, however, is that children are meant to adapt to the society into which they are born. From language acquisition to musical ability, the child's brain is wired to become adept at situations that he or she frequently encounters. For example, if a child grows up in a household that has the luxury of books and parents who love to read, the child will have a deep desire to learn to read, too - just to fit in. If books are not a part of the child's daily life, the child will not be as inclined to express an interest in the written word.
The world changes, but children continue to adapt. The question is whether or not these adaptations are neutral, helpful, or harmful. I tend to think that the question of handwriting versus typing is fairly neutral when it comes to the health and happiness of a person and of society at large. There are other questions that are more pressing, such as the dramatic negative changes that television and child-directed marketing brings about in the mind and body of a child. More on that later.
In the meantime, I'm considering reading this book, or perhaps this one.
P.S. Thanks for all of your pre-order love! Keep the orders coming - they'll be sent out on February 8th.