In the early 20th century, the average American could communicate in several ways. You could go next door and knock on your neighbor’s door. You could send a telegraph to a family or friend who was at a distance.
Phones were available to many families, and by the 1930s radio broadcasts were the in-thing. Fast forward 100 years, and there are endless ways to send or receive communications, yet somehow there seem to be fewer ways in which people are talkin’ to each other.
At a recent dinner party with many 20-somethings, I realized that what my parents taught me regarding respect to others was being challenged. Yes, respect, because how we talk to each other and listen to each other is about respect.
People don’t look up anymore. They don’t tell stories with a beginning, middle and an end. Today’s generation, with all its wonderful attributes, is creating its own way, and telling its own story in a way that was unimaginable even in the late 20th century.
And then there’s writing in cursive. Who does it anymore? For that matter, who writes with a paper and pen anymore? Think about it, writing in cursive has become a lost art form. It’s a shame because there are many positives that come with the beautiful flow of a pen on the move.
When I was recently researching my family tree on ancestry.com I came across several documents from the 1930s and 1940s. I don’t know too much about my great grandparents so I can only interpret who they were as individuals through their handwriting.
You can tell more than you know, from people’s signatures, their phrasing, punctuation. Were they educated? Did they write in short phrases or complicated sentence structures? We’ll never know if they could tell a good story but they probably could, since texting and snap chatting weren’t needed.
Social media apps and smartphones were nowhere in sight. When people talked to each other, they actually talked to each other. They looked into each other’s eyes and read each other’s faces. People used body language instead of emojis.
Fights weren’t made out of an emotional misinterpretation of a text message. We knew what people meant because they let us know what they meant.
And when someone wrote you a letter, or mailed you a postcard, he or she always wrote in cursive because any less would be disrespectful.
I know cursive won’t have a comeback. Writing on paper takes too long. There’s no autocorrect and thinking about spelling and other old fashioned things are too much work.
It’s a shame, because how we communicate with other is much more important than an LOL at the end of a three-word text message. I’d love to hear from you at some point. Drop me a note sometime. I’d love to see your signature.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on July 20, 2016.