What Does the Demise of Cursive Mean?

As I stood at the drugstore counter with a pharmacist annoyed that she couldn't read the doctor's name on my mother's prescription recently, I had to smile at the irony. Just the day before I had posted a Wall Street Journal article on Facebook expressing  my displeasure that writing in script is being phased out of many a school curriculum across our great land.

It feels personal. Pen to paper is like breath to me. It's how I process things. It gives me great joy and serenity. It's a form of meditation.

But that is coming from my writer self and she's having a mini duel with the life coach on this. The writer is pretty grumpy about seeing all the subjects she excelled in now being considered not all that important. You know, things like spelling and grammar and now penmanship. Since she can barely name 10 people who know how to place an apostrophe, she's losing her grip. Resist the changes and resist some more.

The life coach, however, is much better at embracing change and in fact prides herself on being oh so open. It's her badge of honor. If one is going to help shepherd clients through looming challenges, being stuck in a time warp is not exactly an asset.

So let's look at what this handwriting issue is bringing to the surface.

"At a growing number of schools, young students are no longer tracing curving L's and arching D's with pencil and paper, no longer pausing at the end of words to dot an i or cross a t," writes Valerie Bauerlein in "The New Script for Teaching Handwriting is No Script at All". "The common core state standards, a set of math and English goals agreed upon by 45 states and now being implemented, sends cursive the way of the quill pen, while requiring instead that students be proficient in keyboarding by fourth grade."

Never mind that one could argue today's children will be keyboarding -- we called it typing, but OK -- regardless of whether it's in the curriculum because it's so ingrained in all we do now. (Oh my, the sarcastic writer is interjecting again. Life coach, wherefore art thou?)

It is, of course, the life coach in me who recognizes that while the writer is broken-hearted over the excruciating demise of her beloved newspapers, it was her willingness to break from print journalism to Web back in 1998 that has helped keep her relevant. She was lagging far behind some in her profession on this score, but was way out ahead of others in her timing when she made that move.

Sure, her initial response to the editor who wanted her to come aboard FoxSports.com back then was, "This Web thing isn't going to sustain. I'm not leaving print." Not exactly a visionary, huh? But eventually, an opportunity to work for a major media outlet overrode the scared little voice and the move to an urban environment was an a-ha moment of great proportions.

Two years after that, when a coveted web producer position came up at Oxygen Media, the job description called for a minimum of 10 years print experience and at least a few on the Web. This writer's resume was a golden fit, the job tailor made.

Some push-pull is OK, isn't it? Our attachments can come from a learned place or one of lovely nostalgia. One of the things I liked best about seeing Argo was the reminder of how that era looked and sounded. I was a freshman in college in 1980 and it was fun to see the cars and telephones and hear the music from that time period. That doesn't mean I'm looking to trade in my smartphone for the instrument we used back then, though.

My clients are often stuck in mindsets or stalled in places they know are holding them back. It's my job to clear the muck and help them work through their resistance. Follow your gut here. Put your energy there. What's in the way?

Sometimes I have to turn that eye on myself. So is there something in my way here? I hate the idea of cursive going away. Strongly object to it like you can't believe.

But that would really only be detrimental if I was refusing to learn how to use all the technology afforded me and suggesting my clients live in the past with me. Instead, I'm passing along my message via this column, a blog, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Hardly the Stone Age, right? I love email, hate texting. I adore my smartphone, but am not inclined to use it beyond the basics.

Overall, I'd say the writer and the life coach are co-existing rather nicely.

When people talk about retiring and I declare that I'm not planning on it, ever, I have been known to say they'll have to pry the 'pen' from my cold, dead hands.

On one hand, heck yeah. On the other, who's really trying to take my pen?

No one.

This column began in a basic spiral notebook and was finetuned on an iPad.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I called my mother from the drugstore, we figured out the doctor's name, and the prescription was filled.

Life goes on. You can read all about it in my hand-written journals.

Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.