Saturday, April 20, 2013


I read an article on yahoo this week about lefties, and it reminded me all over again of how interesting I find the subject.  It was so uppermost on my mind, I decided to talk about it in our co-op's newsletter introduction.  We homeschoolers are always up for trivia, right?  :-)  Thought I'd share it here on my blog as well, especially since I haven't been around much lately!
I have a very important topic to discuss today.  I would like to acquaint everyone with left-handedness.  You see, I've been left-handed my whole life.  My WHOLE life!  My mom told me that when I was learning to eat, she'd catch me holding the utensil in my left hand.  She'd come over, gently transfer it to my right, and before she knew it that stubborn spoon had made it's way back to the left again.  Eventually she had to accept that we had a southpaw in the family!

A few years back I came upon a fascinating article with statistics and theories on lefties.  I was surprised to find how accurately the data described me!  Here's some trivia I hope you find interesting (with colorful commentary added where applicable).

Power tools, can openers, hole punchers, children's desks, and staircases are among the items designed for a right-handed person.  My dad always said he knew when I'd gotten bread - the twisty was wound backwards.

They still aren't sure what causes left-handedness, and there are many theories.  One is that a specific gene called LRRTM1, passed from the father, tends to increase the chances.  I like this one better than the theory that the child suffered brain damage in the womb!

Being left-handed can be advantageous in fights, where a mean left hook can come as a surprise to the opponent.  This advantage only works because lefties are a minority.  The left-handed advantage shows up in many sports, some studies suggesting that up to 45 percent of expert fencers and tennis champions are left-handed.  Yep, that's me alright.  No one can resist my left hook.  Actually, I didn't seem to have any advantage in the full-fledged cat fight back in kindergarten.  The other girl seemed to give it back as hard as I could dish it out.  Maybe she was a leftie too.  (In case you're wondering, that's the only fight I ever got into.  Once was enough!)

Only about 1 percent of the population is truly ambidextrous.  So few?  Really?

We don't know if Leonardo was left-handed, but he certainly may have been.  He wrote backwards from right to left.  His contemporaries said they saw him write and paint left-handed, but people were highly superstitious in his society and forced lefties to use their right hands in childhood.  I learned to write in the odd manner you sometimes see lefties using, with my hand twisted around awkwardly, resting on the paper and smudging everything as it goes.  It made my hobby of drawing more difficult.  Many pictures were ruined by the smudging effect until I started placing a sheet of paper under my hand.  It was incredibly inconvenient though, so I didn't make the effort often.

10 % of the world's population is left-handed, ranging between 5 and 20 percent depending on the location.  Location matters?!

Lefties tend to excel at visual and spatial tasks such as architecture and graphic design.  They are more likely to be chess masters but less likely to be scientists and mathematicians.  This is definitely me, except for the chess part.  My talent has always been in the arts.  I did well in science and math, but  those subjects sure didn't come easy!

Identical twins often have different dominant hands.  Interesting!

Lefties have higher rates of dyslexia, schizophrenia, and immune problems, such as allergies and auto-immune diseases.  Yes, I had asthma, hay fever, allergies to cats, dogs, horses, hay, cantaloupe.  After I became an adult most of those improved.  I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease around 10 years ago.

Animals such as dogs and cats tend to have "pawedness," but the distribution is about half and half.  However, chimps and gorillas tend to favor their right hand when fishing for termites, while orangutans favor their left.

Males are more likely to be lefties than females.  Must be due to that right hook advantage.

Lefties are more likely to be geniuses.  Four of the last seven presidents have been lefties, as well as Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Isaac Newton.  Sure, I'll take it!

Medieval castles usually had staircases built in a way so that defenders at the top could have their sword free to swing at opponents while invaders would have their swing impeded by the wall.  Legend says the warrior Clan Kerr trained his men to use their weapons in their left hand and had staircases that allowed their left-hand to wield a sword at invaders.

When asked to visualize space, right-handers tend to be more sensitive to their right-side and perceive a small left arm and larger, longer, stronger right arm.  Lefties don't have this bias, which may come from a lifetime of navigating in a right-handed world.  Yep, that's me.  Extraordinary ability to visualize accurately.  ;-)

Have those of you who are left-handed or have left-handed children noticed any of these tendencies firsthand?  I'd love to hear about it!  But what it all comes down to is that we came into the world with varying talents, blessings, and challenges so we can minister in different capacities.  Uniqueness in ourselves and our children will mean there are things we'll never be good at, but it also means we'll excel in other areas.  We just have to work on our weaknesses and use our strengths for God's glory, all the while thanking Him for both!

Leftie and Lovin' It,


katrina said...

WOW!!! This is such an interesting post! I have learned so much about you lefties!!! Also, a fun post!! I really enjoyed it.

Farrah said...

Thanks, Katrina! Being a lefty has its pros and cons! :-)