I recently overheard a discussion that peaked my interest while I was out to lunch. I eat by myself from time to time as a recharging mechanism (another topic for another day) and at the table next to me were three women discussing work quite loudly.
Now, I understand that it’s rude to eavesdrop, but the topic peaked my interest. From what I was able to tell, there were at least 2 grade school teachers. The conversation literally started out like this:
“I feel so bad for kids nowadays”, so, of course my ears perked up.
She went on to tell her friends about a student who asked her a question, and her response to the question was “you could probably find it in the encyclopedias over there.” Great answer, it helps the child become self-sufficient. I got where she was going immediately.
The student then responds, “how do I find it?” The teacher who is telling the story sighed in obvious disappointment and started to tell her friends that “that moment was the moment I began to feel sad for this generation.” It was because he will never learn how to look anything up in a good old-fashioned encyclopedia.
Right after the story, another teacher at the table chimed in that she started to lose her faith in this generation when “they stopped making the teaching of cursive mandatory.”
The theme of the conversation never changed, and I listened for a while longer but left before it was complete. The gist: Kids aren’t learning what was once a core curriculum, and instills a sense of pity in older generations.
I thought a lot about this conversation and, to be honest, I got where they were coming from (at first). I had to go through the growing pains of writing everything in cursive. I went through the headache that was citing an encyclopedia in my MLA formatted report. Why shouldn’t they?
But then I started thinking about the real-world application of a subject like Cursive, and it occurred to me that I don’t remember the last time I had to communicate using cursive writing. In fact, I think that if one of my employees were to ever give me something in cursive, I would request that it be typed out. Especially if it needed to be kept on record.
So, with all things considered, and I say this as a father myself, I don’t believe that I care if my kid ever learns cursive or the use of an encyclopedia (I couldn’t even tell you if they made them anymore). These are two areas that technology has moved us, as a society, past. Which in my opinion should be celebrated. I’m not anti-cursive, but I believe that if there is something more useful, it should be taught in its place. This makes me happy, not sad.
Part of the reason I started this site was to correct some misconceptions about the average millennial. However, I don’t like seeing the generation below us starting to get the same treatment millennials do. Misconceptions like this are birthed through assumptions in the face of uncertainty. It seems to begin with someone recognizing the differences and automatically assuming the difference to be negative. In the famous words of Greenbay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers “R-E-L-A-X.” Just like all generations before them, this generation is going to turn out just fine.
This is one of my few opinion pieces so I would love to hear yours. Comments welcome regardless the stance. I hope you enjoyed the read!