My Right is right, My Left is right

The scene

Junior is now a withdrawn child. In his ‘’little’’ mind he wished he could do something to stop this persistent harassment by his class teacher. All for no fault of his. The last in a series of these was in a Social Studies class, a question was asked, no pupil could figure out the right answer. The teacher prompted, gave clues…but no way!

Then suddenly, all eyes popped out, necks were turned towards the right extreme row of seats where a left hand was raised…it was Junior’s! The tutor seemed not to share in the excitement of the class, with a scornful look, he shouted the poor boy down.

‘’Put down that your stupid hand’’! he thundered. The poor chap shook with trepidation, covered in sweat…The chalkie viewed the pupil as being uncultured, undisciplined and a bad parenting product! Lefthanded persons continue to suffer a similar fate at religious centres, work and social gatherings…it’s time to end this narrative and start a new one.

How common?

Across the Continents, about 1 in 10 persons are lefthanded.

…but WHY?

The thinking used to be that handedness revealed which brain hemisphere was dominant. However, this has since been disproved. If this were true, it would indicate that other functions controlled by the brain should be influenced by this “‘dominance’”. This doesn’t appear to be the case; for example, the speech areas in the brain tend to be located on the left side of the brain, regardless of hand preference. A definitive answer to Handedness is still being sought but some theories have been proposed;

• Inborn character – Genetic factors may make a child inclined to favour the right hand.

A single gene might be passed from parents to children to influence which hand a child prefers. If a particular version of this gene is inherited, the child may be more likely to be left-handed. However, a recent research suggests that it is more likely that a lot of different familial factors sum up to produce a left-handed person.

• Sex – Slightly more boys than girls are left-handed. This is the basis of belief of some scientists that the male hormone (testosterone) has an influence on right and left-handedness. • Unborn baby’s development (a) – Some scientists believe that handedness has more of an environmental influence than genetic.

They propose that environmental factors in the womb (including exposure to hormones) may influence whether we favour the right or left hand later in life. • Unborn baby’s development (b)- It’s been discovered that the fetuses of stressed pregnant women were more likely to touch their faces more with their left hands than their right. This could be the first signs of a left-handed child. • Babies born with low birth weight– In other findings, babies with low birth weight, or born to older mothers, were more likely to be lefties as well.

• Via role modelling – Children learn to choose their right or left hand by copying parents and other significant caregivers (example maids, grannies…). However, this doesn’t explain why right-handed parents sometimes have left-handed children, and vice versa. • Later life Adjustment – Some naturally right-handed people become left-handed because of the need to adapt to the consequence of an injury.

• It is commoner in twins- Left-handedness is about twice as common in twins than in the general population.

The pros

Left-handedness also has its advantages, these include: • Left-handed people are at an advantage in a wide range of sports, from tennis to fencing to boxing.

• • This is because lefties account for only 10 percent of the population, righties don’t train against lefties as often and are less comfortable facing off against them. Conversely, lefties are used to being in the minority and can adjust more easily, giving them a competitive edge.

• • Research findings suggest that they are more likely to pass a driving test

• • They type faster

• • They are better at creative and visual arts

• • They seem better at multi-tasking

The cons

In practical terms, left-handed people do experience some real-life difficulties, including: • Western writing runs from left to right; This creates some discomfort for lefties until they eventually adapt.

• Left-handed children learning to write often write back to front (called ‘mirror’ writing). This is a natural inclination that will resolve given time, practice and encouragement.

• Implements such as scissors are designed for use with the right hand. • Tools such as circular saws can be dangerous if operated with the left rather than the right hand.

• Left-handed people have more negative emotions

• They are more prone to Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD; it makes people to involuntarily kick and jerk their arms and legs while sleeping) during sleep. This can be likened to what Yoruba people call (jarunpa)

• Handshake- It is traditional and socially acceptable in most cultures for a handshake to be made with the right hand.

If a lefty tries to use the more natural left hand this may make some people uncomfortable.

• Tying shoes laces may be an issue

• Handling trouser zip may also be one

• Lefties have potential health risk such as Dyslexia (a learning disorder characterized by difficulty in reading) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

You are special

Annually, August 13 has been designated as World Left Handers’day.

You’ll never walk alone (I borrowed that from Liverpool FC!)

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Desmond Elliot, Funke Akindele, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, Wolfgang Mozart, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Julius Caesar, Sylvester Stallone, Henry Ford, Martina Navratilova, Mark Zuckerberg, Winston Churchill…all these are in this lefty gang. You see why you are not walking alone!

Take Home

On the one hand, I’m right- handed, on the other hand, you may be left-handed, in totality, handedness does not matter but what is done with those hands!




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