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They still don't know why some people are left-handed but most are right-handed. It is just a little anomaly found throughout human history. It seems to run in some families, but like us, plenty of right-handed people find themselves parenting a left-handed child.
All cultures have a strong right-handed dominance (90% of the population is reportedly right-handed). Lefties are odd wherever you go, even if you are hanging with chimps. But left-handed people are reported to be more creative than right-handed people, and they are meant to have a bigger corpus callosum making the two halves of their brain communicate with each other better.
I know from my work with people who have had strokes that some lefties whole brains are flipped around. The language centres you usually find in the left hemisphere are found in their right hemisphere. Their brains are just wired differently and they confuse the healthcare workers who are trying to understand the mismatched symptoms of their stroke given the location of it!
Left-handed people seem to be able to do more with their right hands than righties can do with their left. Growing up in a world where implements and instruments are made for righties means lefties give their non-dominant side more of a work-out than most righties do. This comes in handy when they break their dominant wrist.
On a practical level, the most difficult things for a right handed person to teach a left handed person from my experience are:
1. Hand writing: Our text runs from left to right. Lefties have trouble with this. Although hand writing has been a difficult skill for Nugget to grasp, I suspect this is not entirely a left-handed issue (have you seen my (right-handed) writing?).
2. Cutting: Scissors are usually made for right hand usage. Nug does everything with his left hand, except use scissors. His daycare never had any left-handed scissors in their toddler room, and by the time he moved into the pre-school room, he had established his preference for right-handed cutting. I would suggest using left-handed scissors!
3. Tying shoe laces: I swear this was a nightmare for us to teach Nugget. We relied on YouTube videos and some tuition from his left-handed uncle, because our attempts were useless.
4. Using a cricket bat: I swear I am hopeless when it comes to using any bat with my left hand. When I have to try to show Nug how to do it, it never works out for us. Lefties are meant to be pretty good a sports though. Obviously this is limited by their right-handed coach's inadequacies!
There is nothing more fun than having a little quirk. Having a left-handed child has woken me up to the plight of other left-handed people. 10% of the population have to struggle to fit into the right handed norms of our society. I reckon we all need to find ways to make it easier for them. Like sitting them on the left side of your dinner table and plugging your computer mouse into the left side of the computer for them. It is the least we can do.
Are you left-handed? Do you have a left-handed child? Tell us about your experiences fitting a square peg into a round hole!