"How will he write?"

A new young friend asked this question a few nights ago in regards to #MightyWoody. I gave my answer - which I have been giving since he was born - that he'll be left-handed. Normally, I wouldn't have thought twice about this. At the beginning, this is probably a question I would have been proud to answer simply because I have the answer unlike so many other questions for which there are no answers. This wasn't a tough one.

I've actually loved knowing that he'll be left-handed. Thomas Macker and I both have left-handed relatives (his grandmother, my dad, just to name the ones immediately coming to mind). In the early weeks I loved doing my internet searches of historical figures who have been left-handed. There are so many good ones! Today, my favorite is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Other favorites include, Leonardo Da Vinci, Helen Keller (!), Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, Babe Ruth. And a surprising number of U.S. Presidents.

My understanding of brain hemispheres, laterality, side-dominance, and other related brain science is just at its nascence. And from my limited research, it seems that there is quite a lot that we don't really know or understand about this because the brain still leaves so much learning to do. How exciting!

It seems from the interwebs that 85-90% of all humans are right-handed. Research indicates that there have never been any societies throughout the existence of our species where the dominant side was the left hand. It has also been shown that primates have no discernible hand preference - meaning it wasn't until we evolved to walk on two legs that our handedness came into play. (aka the way primitive tools were used indicated side dominance). There is a lot more out there on this subject.

Back to the question in my driveway - I absolutely would have just responded and moved on from this as one of the normal inquiries. But my mom sent me a video recently about a 6-year old kiddo who was born just like #MightyWoody and seems is on his way to a stellar golf career. Here he is at 3 (https://yhoo.it/2GxJJyI) And here is at 6 (https://hrld.us/2DpLbkN).

This little boy is right side dominant (at least in golf - where the percentage of lefties is lower, only around 5%), and so he plays on that side. But he was born without his right hand so it is only his left arm that is holding the club and swinging.

Wow! This really got me thinking about #MightyWoody.

There is much interest in how the brains of left-handed humans function and/or differ from right-handed humans. I think I have taken for granted the right-hand/left-brain correlation. That correlation doesn't really help understand a left-handed person. Some research suggests that being left-handed makes one more adaptable (or at least your brain more adaptable) and able to recover from certain things faster (like a stroke). Some suggests that there may be an increase in certain challenges related to mental health. Who is really to say. The human body is both increasingly known to us and as deep a mystery as there ever was.

For as much as we live in a two-handed world, we also very much live in a right-handed world and most objects are designed for right-handedness from cars to scissors. I've been concerned with all the two-handed things that he will have to adapt to do and am eager to see how he continues to find his own way to do those. It appears that genetics have a role to play in handedness although I don't quite fully understand it. Something approximating our genes either have a predisposition for right-handedness or a predisposition is just absent (so not a choice for left-handedness). Science explains this better than I do. But if his one-handedness is a genetic blip, did his genes talk to each other enough to know that they needed to make him left-handed? I'm not quite sure what to make of the idea that he could be a right-handed kiddo born (genetically) without a right hand!?!

My conclusion at this point is still that #MightyWoody will be left-handed. Although he could end up with a prosthetic one day that allows him to function with more dominance on the right side. But my recent experience has been a good reminder that I probably shouldn't assume too much about either of my kids in a number of areas. So my rephrasing, I expect that Woody will write with his left hand, but that doesn't mean he will be left-side dominant. It could also afford him the opportunity to exercise his brain differently from all of us right-handed regulars. This could make some things easier and some things harder. Welcome to life!


(I can't resist - this is one my fave reads on why lefties are rare...because humans favor cooperation over competition...I wonder how this will play out with siblings! https://bit.ly/2DoFBPS)

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