"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Left Way

     I'm currently reading (and enjoying) Your Left-handed Child by Lauren Milsom.  I'm trying to learn how to raise my left-handed child (Little Guy) when neither Jed nor myself are left-handed.  I even told Jed yesterday that I feel like we need to hire a left-handed tutor to help Little Guy learn how to hold his pencil and his paper, etc. because at times, it's hard for me to wrap my head around how to be left-handed.  I watched Little Guy circle his chair (using it as a table) in the waiting room at the dentist yesterday while he colored a Star Wars book.  Is that normal?  Is he compensating for his left-handedness?  Did my other kids color in this manner?  Do I need to correct this?

     So I'm very aware of left-handedness right now, and as a result of me telling Jed every interesting fact I read/learn, it's on his radar as well. Sunday in church the kids were learning a song about choosing the right. Which, according to Jed turned into a lesson on right vs. left rather than right vs. wrong.  Except right and right are two different things, and Little Guy doesn't need to associate left with wrong.  The teacher told all the kids to raise the hand they write with and that was their right hand. That way was the right. Except my poor little four year old is holding up his left hand.  This is something that I wouldn't have even noticed not that long ago, that I might have even said myself.  It's a strange thing when your eyes are opened to a new way of seeing things.

The book tells me,
"Left-handedness is a trait we are born with.  Because of many different cultural superstitions regarding left-handedness, this trait has historically had rather negative connotations.  In many cultures, left-handers have been treated with suspicion or even ostracized from society, with left-handed children forcibly made to conform to right-handed actions such as writing and eating.  Not surprisingly, such cruel practices only hindered left-handers' ability, making them appear awkward and clumsy thorugh undertaking everyday tasks with their weaker hand, but also created poor self-esteem and even psychological damage, which could last a lifetime.  We now understand how damaging such attitudes are, and thankfully they are dying out in most civilized cultures."
     I've heard the stories of teachers/parents forcing left-handed kids to use their right hand.  I'm glad that for the most part, that's died out and left-handedness is accepted, but I worry about how easily Little Guy's attitude can we swayed.  He's already the only lefty in our family.  I feel like I'm constantly congratulating him on his uniqueness so that he doesn't try to conform to fit in with us right-handers, let alone the rest of the world.


Andrea said...

I'm learning so much from your left-handed posts. Keep posting! Or maybe I should just read the book!

benniegirl said...

My brother forced his daughters to be right-handed. From a young age, if they held their forks (or anything) with their left hand, he angrily grabbed it out of their hand and put it in the right hand. One of his daughters seemed to have a strong preference for her left hand but ultimately associated it with doing something wrong. She's a first grader now and functioning as a right-handed child. My brother is thrilled and thinks he has done her a great service. My husband and daughter (age 11)are left-handed and I admit, I haven't tried very hard to understand it but it doesn't seem to have created any unusual problems. She had a little trouble shooting the basketball the same way as her team but with some at-home practice, she was able to adjust. Good luck! I think it's a great service to let your child develop in the way they are most comfortable.
P.S. Thanks for the book club list you posted earlier!!!

The Man Your Husband Is Worried About said...

Do you want me to slap that Primary lady for you? 'Cause I totally will, if you want me to.

julie said...

I think I need to read this book too. My Kindergartener is left handed, and she writes and colors with her left hand and has all year in school. However, we just started her in flag football, and she likes to throw the ball with her right hand. Should I encourage her to throw with her left hand?

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