A Gift To Our Children

As parents we are responsible for our children's memories. But also from moment to moment we are responsible for our child's brain development.  As we move into a more digitalized world we can also find more and more research as to what happens to our child’s brain as we sacrifice hand writing for typing. This research comes under the heading of "Haptics" which is an adjective, pertaining to or based on the sense of touch. Ever wonder what is lost cognitively when we go faster, giving up the pen for the keyboard?  The first typewriter to be commercially successful was produced in 1868 by several inventors from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The world of business and commerce demanded its development for speed as the saying goes; "time is money."

We all know the value of the sense of touch. This is the touch of the pen, the feel of the paper. In Gina Lumauig’s article for Brain Training (May 15, 2015) entitled  “8 Reasons Why Handwriting is an Essential Brain Exercise” she asks: “Are you an old-fashioned hand writer, choosing this over the convenience of the keyboard? Would you rather write lists on a sheet of paper, than place your reminders on your smartphone? Does letter writing--whether giving or receiving-- make you happy?”

She also sites a study entitled Digitizing literacy: reflections on the haptics of writing. This is a 13 page report outlining the cognitive value of handwriting. It sites sixty-five references which would lead one to believe that this field of study is growing. In the introduction, authors Anne Mangen and Jean-luc Velay point out that handwriting is an unimanual activity where as typing is bimanual. Paying attention to the proper shape of a letter, hand to eye activity, would demand a different/deeper part of the brain than just making sure that the right letter appeared on the lighted screen. There is also evidence that handwriting leads to a richer skill in reading and comprehension.

The keyboard is fast- hand writing is slow. The time differential is interesting. How do we use the extra time we have saved? Does it give us the ability to pay attention to the more meaningful parts of our lives? We speed up so that we have time to slow down.

Slow life down to have more time with our children. Have a penmanship date with your youngster.

Keep writing.


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