Lost Art Challenge  

Posted by Benjie in , , , ,

Technology, good. Technology, bad.

I like technology. It is good for us, makes things easier and more efficient. The advent of the computer and the Internet has brought about things like spreadsheets that calculate and prepare presentations for us, word processors that check our spelling (beware of over-dependence on spell-check and grammar-check software - some words are missed by spelling checkers because they are words even if we meant another word, and most grammar checking software was written by someone who doesn't really know the rules of proper usage, therefore it will indicate error where there is none and let actual errors get by), e-mail that is faster than the Pony Express, and social networking that helps us re-connect with our past. I personally have reconnected with friends from past days--college, high school, and even as far back a the grade and grammar schools I spent my formative years in. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't even be able to issue this challenge if it weren't for technological advances. Technology is a really good thing.

Even so, technology has its draw-backs. Personal connection has been relegated to cyberspace. We no longer FAX (anybody ever really do that anyway?). Instead we email, text (TXT for the younger audience), and Tweet. While these are great ways to communicate on the fly (because technology includes the faster, more efficient transportation available that has decreased the enormity of our globe), they have taken their toll. We have become lazy. Spelling has become a lost skill because we rely on our spelling checker (see above) or depend totally on our smart phones and Twitter which, out of necessity, has taught us to forgo vowels and substitute single letters or combinations of letters (i.e. "C U l8er") to limit the number of keystrokes in our message.

Handwriting itself has become a thing of the past. There are good and bad sides to this, for instance no longer do I write my sermon notes out longhand and consequently I can read them (which my church members may either thank or curse me for). School children are encouraged to learn keyboarding skills rather than learning to write legibly, spell consistently, or construct sentences coherently.

All of this leads to the lost art of letter-writing. While many are still composing communication for memos, email, and blogs (such as this one), we no longer write letters for the sake of communication. So, here's my challenge: choose a friend, an acquaintance, or perhaps engage the assistance of a new friend from your cyber-friends and start a penpal-type relationship with them. Some of my older readers will remember "penpals" from their grade school days. Two correspondents would get acquainted and learn of their different lives via postal communication. We made lasting friendships, learned of different cultures, and kept up with news in foreign (or at least regionally distant) lands. I am going to choose an old acquaintance, write a letter (by hand), explain my challenge, and see if they would like to participate in the experiment with me. Don't be surprised if you receive letter postmarked "Mulberry Grove" from me. If you get the letter, consider writing back (not via email or other electronic means, but with a letter written by hand).

Why, you might ask, am I making such a challenge? Well, I have encouraged my daughter (known here as Puddin' N Pie) to develop the skills required for letter-writing, so I thought I should bone up on those skills myself. If you would like to participate in my little experiment, be sure to leave a comment, and come back occasionally to let me know how your correspondence is progressing. If we start something big, maybe we can save the USPS from reverting back to the days of the Pony Express. What do you say? Want to pick up a pen and some nice stationery and start a trend with me?

This entry was posted on 21 January 2012 at 11:17 AM and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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