Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blog 134: To Teach or Not To Teach: Cursive in Elementary School

By Barbara P. Hendricks

     Two recent articles in the Charlotte Observer have addressed the issue of cursive as a part of the elementary school curriculum.  School administrators seem to agree that it deserves a place in the elementary school day.  A retired UNC-Chapel Hill professor boldly states that "teaching manuscript - or print - handwriting make more sense for the modern world."  Another opinion in the O-pinion, the paper's editorial blog, suggests that "if lawmakers are going to start micromanaging what our students must learn, let's require something really useful like, say, Spanish."
     That being said, I cast my vote to continue to teach our children how to write in cursive.  I realize that we live in a time where text messages, tweets and e-mails are considered the order of the day, but there are enough hours in each day to continue to learn everything that is worth knowing.  
     Cursive is in this category.  We do need to know that the keyboard was not always available and that, at an earlier time, the keyboard was not powered by electricity, but by the force of the human fingers.  Imagine that!
     Writing as we know it can be traced back to the 15th century and cursive as a word to describe this writing style was first used in the year 1784.  The first typewriter (manual) came on the scene in 1867.  Prior to that year, census records, military records, real estate transactions were written by hand (yes, cursive). 
     Handwriting was also designated by two other words which were used as early as the 17th century.  One of these words, "longhand" was first used in 1666; the other word, "penmanship" dates back to 1695.  Let us not miss the opportunity to continue to teach our children to write in cursive and to include with it a little history as I mentioned above.  Children can be eager  learners and we need to remember to be passionate about what we are telling them.  They are very perceptive and they know very quickly when our hearts are not in what we tell them.
     Time spent teaching our children, at school and at home, is never a waste of time.  I feel very fortunate to have lived long enough to enjoy the technology that is available today, and I believe that all of us need to master other languages in order to benefit from life in a multicultural society. Technology should not replace everything else, but should be used and respected as an enhancement to other knowledge. 

     However, I am still glad that I spent a few minutes of each school day following the directions of my teachers as I practiced the writing exercises in my little 9"x4" paperback writing book with the tan cover, and yes - I think the author's last name was Palmer. 

About the author:
Mrs. Barbara P. Hendricks is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an educator, a retired school administrator, a linguist teacher, a pragmatist, our blog proof-reader and our church seat partner.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Blog 133: Now, A Military Ministry

By Vernon M. Herron, Brenda Jones, Angela Peterson and Cornell Wilson
     Recently, a church denomination held a workshop and offered a lecture on “Ten Reasons Why the Church Does Not Grow.” That session was so popular, attendants crowded the room space and even stood in the hallway. 
     It is not known what ten reasons were given, but we do know that one that is basic for church growth is programs for the whole family, i.e. children, youth, adults, senior citizens, males, females, etc. One of the determining factors which encourages church membership is its unique and comprehensive program. 
     Friendship Missionary Baptist Church has a membership of more than 8,000 persons. It has over eighty ministries, among which are Global Relief Ministry, Seniors’ Ministry, Parish Nurse and Health Issues, Marriage Enrichment, Community Economic Development, Spirit of Christmas, activities and ministries for children, youth and singles, International Children’s Outreach, Child development Center, Angel Tree Ministry, Christian Education, etc. 
     The need for another ministry has been identified. It is called “Military Ministry.”
     The church is constantly seeking new ways to serve people better. Now,  under the direction of Pastor Clifford Jones, First Lady Brenda Jones and others,  a Military Ministry has been conceived.  
     As of November 2012, all 38 deployed family members were in the USA. However, we just recently learned that two female Friendship members were deployed to Kuwait and Afghanistan.
     The Military Ministry focuses on the needs of veterans, not only in combat but also during the “peacetime” when they are training, executing change of duty stations or getting out to face an uncertain future in the civilian world.  The Ministry also supports the families that are affected tremendously by the challenges faced with a spouse or parent in the service.  
     Pastor Jones requested that the ministers’ wives of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church organize for the purpose of supporting and encouraging the families as well as the soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. 
     Most recently on each Sunday, all service personnel are remembered in prayer during the intercessory prayer period. Prayer is one of the purposes of the Military Ministry but there are other agenda items as well;
     1. Make contact with the families at least once per month.
     2. Share comforting Scriptures.
     3. Pray together.
     4. Fellowship as a group.
     5. Refer for counseling, if needed.
     6. Plan workshops
     7. FOR THE DEPLOYED: Send packages that include snacks as well as CDs of the church services and bulletins.