Gooder Than Good
“I place a high moral value on the way people behave. I find it repellent to have a lot, and to behave with anything other than courtesy in the old sense of the word—politeness of the heart, gentleness of the Spirit.” —Fran Lebowitz, American author
Today, we meet another character we find in our midst: the traditionalist, loyal to conservative values, respecting rules and authority figures, and very conscientious, bordering on perfectionistic.
As children, these writers took to heart the lessons they learned from authority. They were the good boys, the good girls. When they studied handwriting in school and learned the conventional way to shape letters, they fully conformed and never made changes to the template they learned. Other kids modified those letterforms and enjoyed expressing themselves more individualistically through handwriting. The restless kid scribbled letters quickly, not bothering with punctuation marks or t crossings. Some kids loved having pretty handwriting and found ways to embellish and decorate. But the copybook writer copied the letters painstakingly and never loosened up. These kids grew up to be teachers, role models, and devoted parents. Their life mission is to transmit those values and lessons that they have so fully internalized.
Take Martha Stewart, a classic copybook writer—the handwriting of the perfectionist, you could say. She herself is a teacher of best practices. So, when you see the carefully written copybook script that doesn’t look terribly original, you see a personality that first and foremost, wants to be known as hardworking, obliging, and conventional.
In our first lesson, we saw the tasteful copybook script of that entrepreneur, a handwriting that exudes classic good taste, as well as grace and dignity.
We see the copybook pattern in the signature of Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States. She was also a former librarian who organized the books at the White House using the Dewey Decimal Classification System found in libraries! Classic!
How Too Perfect Becomes Not So Perfect After All
Copybook writers sometimes suppress aspects of the personality to the degree that their own mental health suffers. This is especially the case when such a personality finds themselves in the public eye. The pressure of always being perfect can drive such a writer to unhealthy coping strategies, like drinking or abuse of pharmaceuticals, both of which were a problem for Betty Ford, former First Lady of the United States. Or a person may have perfected a public person but show a tougher side when dealing with family or intimates (as reported by Martha Stewart’s daughter in her memoir).
Relating to the Traditionalist
When dealing with copybook writers, just remember they generally aim to please and strive to be known as fair, gracious, and responsible. They love to be of service for good causes. And being perfectionistic, they may have control issues that mean they do the work and won’t delegate. Many shun the limelight, happier offstage. With this type, remember that they do their best work when they can be slow and detail-oriented. Don’t rush them! Others may live in the public eye, like the Ralph Laurens or Martha Stewarts of the world. In this case, bear in mind that they have created an identity based on the principle of right action and so live with pressure, always needing to be perceived as perfect role models.
Today, we met the people who celebrate the grand traditions that move society and culture forward. Tomorrow, let’s get to know the rebels. It turns out that it is easy to tell people who march to their own beat from their handwriting, giving you a heads up so you let them do it “their way.”
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