At a recent basketball practice for 3 – 5 year olds where parents and kids work together on drills, a fellow parent shrugged her shoulders and declared, “She’s left-handed. I don’t know what to do with her.”
Here’s the thing. You don’t have to do anything different with your left-handed child. Just let him or her be left-handed. To the mom at basketball practice, I noted that being a lefty isn’t easy since everyone puts things (like basketballs) in your right hand. I know because I’m a lefty too.
The truth is, most of us aren’t truly left-handed. We’re pretty ambidextrous. We have to be, living in a right-handed world. I cut and kick with my right hand and foot. I can pretty much dribble and shoot a basketball with either hand comfortably. Of course, we’re good at switching back and forth because we’re also right brained. (You know, because left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind.)
Sure we do things the opposite way that most people do. Our check marks go the opposite way. When you open cards from us, they’re always upside down and backwards. We bump elbows with people at the dinner table. It’s not like we have a disease or anything. In fact, lefties are pretty smart and creative. Six of the past 12 presidents have been lefties (Truman, Ford, Reagan, Bush [Sr., of course], Clinton and Obama).
Lots of artists, musicians, actors and athletes are southpaws, including Michelangelo, M.C. Escher, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant, Robert DeNiro, Jim Henson, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, George Burns, Dan Aykroyd, Oprah Winfrey, Cam Neely, Larry Bird, Steve Young, Gayle Sayers, Ty Cobb and Ken Griffey, Jr.
Four of the 5 original MacIntosh computer designers were left-handed. The list goes on and on.
According to Wikipedia, only about 7 – 10% of the population is left-handed. If your child is, don’t fret. And don’t put things in his right hand. Let your child choose which hand (or foot) he wants to use. If you’re teaching a child something and can’t figure out how to do it the opposite way you’re used to, stand across from him instead of next to him. It’s easier to visualize. That’s what I do with my right-handed son, G. Of course, he’ll probably learn a few things left-handed. And that’s okay too.