Sunday, August 16, 2020
The Ee that looks like two C's stacked one atop the other is named for the fifth letter of the Greek Alphabet that transliterates as 'e.' In handwriting, it denotes literary traits, an interest in the Arts and love of culture. The Vimala Alphabet™ attributes it as the 'Letter of Tolerance,' open and simply elegant with no embellishment or exaggeration. I often think of it as hands cupped behind both ears — listening carefully and quietly giving space for another person to speak. Today, Sunday, August 16th is the last day of the 40-day cycle writing lines of e — both uppercase and lowercase Epsilon and the lowercase teardrop e. Thank you to all who have been writing with me.
Monday, August 3, 2020
Cookie Cutter Kids — they don’t fit the mold
“Today’s children, and those who teach them, are presented with the unprecedented task of assimilating a more formidable amount of knowledge than any other generation before them.”
I wrote those words twenty years ago, and the amount of knowledge and technology has since increased exponentially! What I call the ‘cookie cutter’ approach in a right-wrong, one-answer-only world is producing a generation of confused, distraught, and often very depressed children. Teenage suicides were on the increase twenty years ago, and sadly they are the third leading cause of teenage death today. Psychologists are alarmed by the large per centage of elementary aged children who think about ending their lives out of frustration, loneliness, and feelings of personal anguish. Parents are even more astonished than the professionals to find that their children feel this way. The majority of these children are not hoodlums ‘acting out,’ or ‘problem’ children who are incorrigible. Most come from stable homes where parents love and care about them. But it’s a busy world, and our schools have schedules and rules and deadlines and homework. Parents have busy schedules and are often shuffling through work and the essentials of living. Time is the commodity that looms scarce in all our daily lives.
Covid-19 has afforded us a slow-down. It has it’s own set of stressors to be sure, yet it is a wake-up to everyone that there are other ways of doing things. More innovative, yes, and maybe better. One is ‘take time.’
There are tools to learning, and handwriting is the key! Handwriting models our thinking patterns and reinforces not only our approach to the world around us, but also our innate skills to work in that world. The ‘basic’ in learning is thinking. Thinking involves asking questions, making observations, taking action to solve problems, reassessing, and concluding. Often in our educational system, young people are hooked into finding and reciting answers, and they miss the learning that comes from arriving at solutions.
Albert Einstein put it this way:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend
the first fifty-five minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I knew the
proper question, I could solve the problem in less that five minutes.”
Make time to look up at the stars, time to inspect what lies in blades of grass, time to enjoy the myriad shapes and colors of plants and flowers. Take time to listen to a child’s view of the world. What pulls his or her attention? Find the fascination in a slow motion walk through an afternoon with your child. Listen. Offer insights, yet resist the urge to lecture or ‘tell’ … listen. Encourage a journal account of such adventures — writing down the experience. No child is a ‘one-size-fits-all’ person. Each is unique. Take time to celebrate that uniqueness — keep your own journal and write it down!
Does the way we write really affect our world?
I came across a remarkable observation some years ago. It was noted that in Germany, during Hitler’s reign of terror and the time leading up to it, people wrote with a very angular, pointy style. When the Nazis were defeated, the German schools adopted a more ‘Americanized’ handwriting, one that had a much more rounded style. It was that generation who grew up to stun the world as they tore down the Berlin wall.
Teaching our children the Vimala Alphabet™ is really giving them the lifelong ability to use practical, forward thinking and common sense skills to move through life in a more productive and creative way. They have a lifetime to learn new facts, apply them, create and refine from them, and bridge their understanding to the future. It’s imperative we provide them with a solid foundation in healthy cursive handwriting skills now while their young minds are establishing firm habits. The Vimala letters are designed to foster positive thinking. Self-assurance, solutions thinking, inquisitiveness, zest for life. Aren’t these what we want for our kids? The price is simple — daily practice … fifteen minutes a day, choosing three letters at a time to move through the Vimala Alphabet™. Three letters, three lines each. Two lines of words that incorporate those letters — beginning, middle and ending — for example:
What’s it good for?
That's the question the spouse of one of my handwriting clients asked. He couldn’t understand why anyone would invest time in handwriting. After all, this is the age of the computer — the two fisted, finger tapping mode of communication. Let the grammar and spell checkers do the thinking was his reasoning. Why bother with handwriting? Obviously the joy of a wonderful handwritten letter from a friend or a short uplifting memo from a colleague or a child’s handmade card would be lost on him. The efficiency of a pen for legible to-do lists, quick notes or marginal details, or sticky note reminders didn’t seem to cross his mind either.
I have met people from all walks of life, all different backgrounds and skills, and so many are pursuing self-help strategies. Many are spiritual seekers looking for deeper meaning in life, looking for self-knowledge, self-improvement, a way to cope in the busy rush the world seems to foist on us. Spending a few minutes a day writing Alphabetical letters engages the subconscious and literally opens up neurons through the hand-brain connection. New pathways form, new ways of thinking and new insights into how we interact with the world. The world doesn’t change, our thinking does! We see, maybe for the first time, the possibilities!
There is no denying the changes we make by practicing positive handwriting strokes. The brain-hand connection is more powerful than affirmations alone. It is the fingerprint of our mind, and we can transfigure it so that it supports us in our life journey. So, what good is it? Handwriting becomes the foundation for how we meet the challenges in life. It is a primary tool to living effectively. And it is the most important technology that we need to share with our children, our legacy, our most precious resource.