Dear Mr. Morton- Our son, age 6, is left-handed. Isn’t it better to be right-handed? Can we change his hand preference?- Parents.
Dear Parents- Looking down at my computer keys, I see how a right-biased world makes it somewhat difficult for “southpaws.” The cursor bank, numerical pad and return key are installed on my keyboard’s right side. Guitars, cameras, firearms, kitchen utensils and tools are mostly designed for right-handed people.
Your son’s world may be a bit easier if the controls on camcorders, start pulleys on lawn mowers, winders on wrist watches, cranks on pencil sharpeners and fishing reels, blade-opening notches on Swiss Army knives, and gear shifts on cars were all positioned on the left side.
But things are looking up for “lefties”. Recently, researchers discovered a gene linked to increased odds off becoming a left-hander and that left-handed men are 15 percent richer than right-handed men who attended college and 26 percent richer if they graduated (John Hopkins, 2006).
It’s amazing that, with only 10 percent of adults being “lefties”, a top-heavy number of pro tennis players are left-handed. Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Martina Bavratilova, Marcelo Rios, Rafael Nadal being just a few. In addition, 30 percent of all professional baseball pitchers and nearly half of all first-basemen are southpaws.
- Some famous Lefty personalities are US President Barack H. Obama, Henry L. Ford, Mark Twain, Jimi Hendrix, Michelangelo, and our very own Rafael “Paeng’’ Nepomucen and Emmanuel “Manny’’ Pacquiao.
- Men are slightly more likely to be left-handed than women.
- When NASA began searching for imaginative, reliable, multi-talented people for the moon, 1 in 4 Apollo astronauts turned out to be left-handed (a figure 250% greater than statistical probability).
- Left-handers reach puberty 4-5 months later than right-handed people.
- Lefties tend to draw figures that face the RIGHT.
- Probably because they use the right side of the brain more, lefties appear to be better in the music and arts scene.
- According to neurologists, lefties adjust more readily to seeing underwater.
- Left-handers seem to excel in sports such as tennis, baseball, swimming and fencing.
- The probabilities of producing a lefty are as follows: 1 in 10 if both parents are right-handed; 2 in 10 if one parent is left-handed; 1 in 4 if both parents are left-handed.
- 4 of the 5 original designers of the Macintosh computer were left-handed.
- Lefties account for a large percentage of those in remedial reading classes.
You’ll accept your son’s left-handedness after reading the book, “Right-Hand, Left-Hand” by Chris McManus. He explains the proportion of left-handers is rising and, historically, they have been above-average achievers.
Apparently, their brains are built such that the range of abilities broadens. Also, the genes determining left-handedness also govern development of the language centers in the brain. These “lefty” traits correspond to the number of scientific, mathematical, sporting, and artistic geniuses- Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Ludwig van Beethoven, Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Bobby Fisher…the list of exceptionally-talented lefties is endless.
Your son is in good company! Lastly, here’s some informational Websites:
HELP FOR LEFT-HANDED CHILDREN
LEFT-HANDED CHILDREN IN A RIGHT-HANDED WORLD
NOTE: Scroll down the right margin to "(O) LEFT-HANDED CHILDREN" for updated videos and articles on this topic.
Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions as school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University.