April 2, 2012
Recently, I was looking for recipe cards and a recipe box for a gift. I checked out several high end department stores and low end box stores. I also checked at a particularly high end kitchen supply store. I was advised by the employee “why do you want recipe cards? Just do it on the computer. No one writes anymore.” Is this true? No one writes anymore? This makes me sad. I have a box of letters written from my parents, grandparents and uncle and I cherish those brittle pages with their smudges and slanted lines. Most have the date and temperature at the top.
I fully understand that I cannot wholly appreciate the computer. I grew up without microwaves and cell phones let alone computers. I remember trying to decide between a VCR and a Betamax. I remember using a typewriter for all those college papers. And lots of whiteout and carbon paper. Granted, emails are quite handy. But I can hardly believe that writing is a long lost art. And now schools are considering eliminating cursive from the curriculum! Even though studies have shown a direct correlation between handwriting and early reading and writing skills; there will be a whole generation that will have no idea of the value of stationary and will never actually pen a letter and send it in the mail.
Actually putting pen to paper allows one to convey an emotion; to allow the reader a glimpse into a sentiment that can be relived each time they read and touch what is on the paper. And this is why hand written information is so important in the life book process. Your adopted child can read their life book chronicled on the computer and can even make entries on the computer themselves but, really; a lot of the significance could be lost this way. It is such a bonding experience that fosters trust and attachment for parent and child to be able to draw and write in the life book.
As the years go by, the child is able to pull out that book and remember those experiences. Pulling the words up on the computer might just not have the same affect. Granted, the most important thing about the life book is that you do it. But the content in the book is only one aspect of the lifelong lessons one can learn with the life book. The other lessons come from the planning and the actual experience of putting the book together along with the later reflection on those experiences. Children are very tactile by nature and the writing of the letters and the assembly of the book is something they can appreciate, hold and learn from.
So as I continue to be saddened and appalled at the demise of the art of writing, I can take comfort in the fact that at least some things will continue to be written by hand. And maybe my grandchildren will appreciate my stories about what it was like to use that thing called “the pen”.