Daily Archives: March 21, 2013

Something Sinister

Like approximately 85% of the world, I’m right handed.  My maternal grandmother, mother, and two of my sisters are left-handed, so I’ve heard how difficult things can be for those who favor their left hand, but I honestly never gave it much thought.  However, now that my almost three-year old son has turned out to be a definite lefty, I find that I’m much more attuned to the little issues that pop up daily in the life of a left hander.

A meeting of left-handed Presidents.  [Image in the public domain; click photograph for further info]

Three of the last four presidents have been southpaws! [Image in the public domain; click photograph for further info.]

For instance, there is nothing my son loves more than helping to clean up (and I hope this never changes!).  His first “chore,” and one that he loves, is using the dustpan and brush to sweep up the floor.  This simple task caused us no end of frustration when I would try to hold the dustpan for him so he could sweep things in.  Eventually, the light bulb clicked on in my head and I realized that I was holding the pan in the same position I’d use when sweeping with my right hand.  For him, this was backwards and difficult!  Once I showed him how to hold the dustpan in his right hand so he could use his left hand to sweep into it, he got it down in no time. While things are a bit different now than they were for his great-grandmother, who used to get punished for writing with her left hand, we are undoubtedly living in a right-hander’s world.  Things as simple as clicking a computer mouse, using a sewing machine, playing guitar, or using a can opener are all a bit trickier when you’re trying to do them in reverse.  Some studies have shown a tendency toward developmental delays in left-handed children, which doesn’t surprise me a great deal.  Imagine learning something brand new, only to encounter the challenge of having to do it backwards and upside down! I hear that spiral notebooks are a pain, too.

Of course, for all the challenges that lefties face, most right-brained folks will also tell you that there are definite advantages.  Artists and musicians are more likely to be left handed than the rest of us, which leads to some theorizing that left-handers are more naturally creative.  There’s also a possibility that southpaws are more mathematically gifted than the general population.  And I for one am pinning my hopes on my son’s career as a left-handed pitcher for the Pirates (leading them to greatness, winning the World Series, etc.). Keep your eye on the 2030 draft picks.



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