5 Reasons to Cherish Handwriting

Find out why the quintessential “handmade” product we all create is thriving in the digital era thanks to its insights into personality, the past, and educational and emotional development.

Jun 18, 2020

Despite being one of the oldest and most traditional forms of communication, handwriting retains its unique magic, while it continues to surprise us with the countless gifts it has to offer. 

We’re living in a tech-driven world, which is bringing profound changes to how we produce and read written material. And currently, there’s a big question mark over whether to continue spending time on improving kids' handwriting, or to emphasize teaching keyboarding and digital skills instead.  However, there are still too many good reasons why preserving such a unique means of expression, which has fascinated human beings since the beginning of the written word, makes sense. Let’s explore them! 

Making your [unique] mark
In a most essential way, writing by hand is the physical act of making a personal mark in the world. It is a sign of our humanity, almost as unique and individual as a fingerprint. No one writes exactly like another human being. 

So in a way, handwriting adds meaning to the words we write, since it reveals more than just what is written. In literature, for example, it allows us to trace hints about the author’s mood at the moment of writing, and about their personality as well. So there's a connection between the reader and the author that goes beyond the text itself. This is something that you’ll miss, simply staring at those perfect printed words on the screen!

The art of calligraphy
It’s probably also because of the allure of this genuinely individual act of expression, made by hand, that more people are being drawn to the beautiful brushstrokes of calligraphy. This aesthetic writing technique turns handwriting into an art form. Tomorrow’s World Today reports that while it is most commonly associated with China where it is believed to have originated, different forms emerged through the centuries in Japan, India, Tibet, as well as in European countries, the Middle East, and other parts of the world.

For those who are passionate about this form of visual art, it provides them with the creativity, serenity and mindfulness they need: worrying thoughts just evaporate when the only thing that matters is the pen on the paper. 

Step into a time machine!
More pragmatic folks will find plenty of good reasons to appreciate the handwritten word as well; without learning how to read it, we wouldn’t be able to access more recent historical documents as well as antique papyrus rolls and other ancient texts. What does this mean? We would simply be missing invaluable historic evidence, the wealth of accumulated knowledge, and a deeper understanding of the world that existed before our time.

Reading other people
But an “understanding” of handwriting has other practical applications in reading other people. Medics in mental health settings and other professionals such as HR recruiters and graphologists, routinely analyze handwriting as part of their diagnostic process.

For these professionals, a handwriting sample serves as a snapshot of the person’s current psyche, thought processes, and individual personality. So it can really be amazingly revealing.

Handwriting as learning enabler
And what about its impact on education? Maria Montessori, an Italian physician and famous educator known for her philosophy of education, remarked a century ago that the hand was fundamental to the development of the intellect.

Montessori highlighted how essential the hand-brain connection is, proving that new pathways develop in children’s brains as they use their hands to explore and interact with everything that surrounds them. In short, handwriting plays a key role in enabling learning.

So back to the original question as to whether schools should keep teaching handwriting. We can  understand why we should cherish handwriting even in the face of the relentless of things digital. Both are fundamental skills for the immediate future, and the integration of the two can translate into beneficial enrichment for everyone's lives.

After all, our eyes aren't the only windows into the soul now we know that handwriting has a lot to tell about each one of us.

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DAIANA BROJT, CONTRIBUTOR
With a love for fashion, technology, self-development, nature and communication, Daiana is a freelance writer. She is the creator of an online community platform dedicated to providing inspiration and information on trends, developments and positive impact initiatives in the world of Sustainable Fashion.