Earlier this month, I wrote about parenting — and clashing with — the first left-handed child in our family: my 7-year-old son.
While I anticipated some scathing emails, none came. My inbox was instead, full of encouraging, informative (some concerned I would force my lefty son to become a righty) emails from other lefties.
“Celebrate this kid and try to understand the situation that we left-handers find ourselves in,” wrote Neil Webster of Springfield. “Everything in his environment was designed by and for right-handed people.”
While I never considered being left-handed a disadvantage, I also never considered unique safety issues.
Webster continued, “He needs to understand his vulnerabilities as well. Machines and tools are designed for the right-handed. He needs to be especially safety conscious. Motorcycles are right handed … guns are right handed, especially rifles.”
I had no idea. Guns and motorcycles aren’t on my hobby list, but they could one day be on my son’s. (Can you hear me screeching in motherly protest? Eek!)
“As a firearm instructor in years past, issues with not so much which hand was used, but which eye was dominant became a factor in shooting skill development,” said a reader named Rick.
“Most individuals are dominant with the eye on the same side as their dominant hand. A few are cross-eye dominant. Doing an activity that utilizes/requires hand-eye coordination is much easier when on the same side.”
Dr. Susan Marine of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is also a lefty. She said, “It was difficult as a child always being different and having trouble learning to do things. Similar to the child in your article, my left-handedness was inconsistent. It took a long time to realize fine motor skills functioned best in my left hand and my right arm was stronger than my left.”
Marine said learning new skills is still a challenge as an adult.
“When I cannot predict if I will be right-handed or left-handed, I still try to learn the standard method and switch to something else or make my own modifications if the right-handed method does not work.”
There might be more left-handed desks in schools these days, but we do live in a (mostly) right-handed world.
Webster made another good point, “(your son) will grow up being able to use both hands nearly equally. We lefties work with both hands, and that can be a huge advantage.”
He went on to admit, he’d rather go under the knife with a surgeon capable of using both hands equally, than a surgeon with one dominant hand.
He’s not quite ready for the operating room, but my son has an advantage in that he can bat left-handed or right-handed, shoot hoops with either hand and throw a mean left-hook when a right-hook is expected.
Any thoughts on anger management?