I’m ashamed to admit that I tried to turn my left-handed child into a right-handed one. From a very young age, he had always used his left hand to draw, to eat, to throw a ball. My son was 18-months-old when I gave him a crayon in his right hand on purpose, trying to change his hand preference. “I take it here!, he told me speaking his baby words clearly. He then promptly switched the crayon from his right hand into his left and scribbled a beautiful picture. He was trying to tell me that he is left-handed, and we’ve never looked back since then.
Why is there still a left-handed stigma in our society? After all, celebrities like Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, and famous couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are all left-handed! Even 5 of the last 7 American presidents were lefties, although left-handedness only occurs in 5-10% of the population! Why did I feel a need to change my son? I think it was for fear that he would be treated differently due to his left-handedness (silly reason, right)?
I asked myself how my son is different from my other children? And with the exception of his left-handedness, there is no difference! He is just as handsome, funny, smart, active, inquisitive and creative as my other kids. Then I tried to think of any lefties that I know in real life, and 3 came to mind right away: my brother, my sister-in-law and father (who was forced to become a righty at an early age). All three intelligent, talented, upstanding human beings.
Of course there are special considerations with lefties, such as buying left-handed or ambidextrous scissors (right-handed scissors don’t work with lefties), seating lefties on your left-hand side at the dinner table (so you don’t bump elbows while eating) and placing a computer mouse on the left-hand side (or using a mouseless keyboard). And by gaining a little lefty, we have also gained a new holiday: Left-Handed Day on August 13th! I’m sure I must have left out something else!
This article was written by me, Jenna Em, and appears on the Wednesday September 26th, 2012 issue of the Kuklamoo Blog.