Give kids a couple of weeks off school and they can hardly wait to sprint upstairs to their bedrooms to play Fortnite for the duration. Maybe this is how the makers came up with its name.
Give kids six weeks holiday, then killing people and performing various victory dances in a post-apocalyptic virtual world loses its appeal. Unless you happen to be a teenage boy.
So, it’s about this time of year that parents often need a little inspiration.
Calligraphy to the rescue
This is where calligraphy can come in handy. And when I say handy, I mean it can save your children from boring themselves to death (sorry, one of mine is a teenager and his melodramatic exaggerations are beginning to rub off on me).
Of course, it won’t be an easy sell. Calligraphy is everything Fortnite isn’t. It isn’t loud. It isn’t online. It doesn’t involve bloody violence (unless you sculpt the words ‘bloody violence’ in your best handwriting), it doesn’t contain in-game purchases of outfits and weapons and it doesn’t involve building any forts.
Rather, calligraphy is as quiet as a church mouse padding around in slippers. It’s also brain-healingly calming. Calligraphy is lexical mindfulness for millennials. Or haptic heaven, if you prefer. As soon as you start moving one of those gorgeous little italic pens across the page and start forming curvaceous Cs, exquisite Es and sweeping Ss, it’s almost impossible not to get sucked deep into the page and swim around in its inky elegance.
This would have been no bad thing even in a pre-digital age, when neat handwriting was little more than an expectation, even at primary school. Today, when online games kidnap our children, and often won’t even release them at bedtime, mindfulness is as soothing as summer rain.
Calligraphy puts the ink in think
In an article for Psychology Today, memory medic, William R Klemm, points out that:
“Scientists are discovering that learning cursive is an important tool for cognitive development, particularly in training the brain to learn functional specialisation – that is, the capacity for optimal efficiency.”
In other words, cursive writing (joined up writing to me and you), with a pen and paper, helps us to think.
“Cursive writing,” the article goes on, “helps train the brain to integrate visual, tactile information and fine motor dexterity.” Who knew?