Thursday, February 4, 2016

Left Handed: Generation to Generation

Mom was left handed. She attended a small community school where all grades, first through eighth, were together in one room. 

The teacher carried around a ruler when lessons were given. SMACK! Mom would get hit across her hand. 

No chance of moving out of that classroom. No escape to a "more acceptable" learning environment. 

It took a strong person to persevere and prevail, to continue attending the school and to face each day knowing she would inevitably feel her teacher's wrath for what she had no control over.

Society, and especially schools, taught and believed -- we chose which hand we used to write.

We still carry many similar incorrect beliefs, teachings and prejudices. 

When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn -- in the words of the song "Where Have All The Flowers Gone".

Only because she was left handed and that was considered NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Mom's grand-daughter, also left handed, was seen as a "challenge" by her teachers as well. 

Left handedness is still viewed as unacceptable and is certainly inconvenient in a right handed world. 

For the grand daughter, the "blow" was finding ways to discredit the student, a referral to "counseling" or calling the parents in to "talk" about the student's in class attitude or "not measuring up to expectations".

Both found ordinary everyday movements and learning a challenge.

What we do not understand or what we believe we know often complicate our lives and the lives of others.

In Mom's generation, being left handed was even considered "willfully sinful" as many believed it was a choice you could make.

In Daughter's generation, it was considered an inconvenience and not seen as providing special challenges teachers should recognize and help the student overcome.

What special challenges does the left handed person face?

Ever try writing with your left hand? Most people cover the paper with part of their hand and in the earliest stages of learning to print and write, this causes part or all of a letter or word to be obstructed or even covered.

Try it some time. See how as you progress across a page you cannot see the form or the motion.

Left handed people are amazing! They overcome the right handed world and live alongside us constantly adjusting to challenges we never see.

Recently we had repair needs in our home. Did you ever consider how "right" oriented we are?

Ever hear the expression -- "lefty loosey" and "tightie righty". It's to describe loosening or tightening almost everything from screws to lids on jars.

Today there are special tools for "lefties" but they're not distributed very widely.

Think about how far we've come in recognizing and providing for some physical challenges but we still do not see being left handed as a "challenge". It is.

It's NOT, however, a sign of lower or negatively affected intelligence which is still a carryover from earlier times and needs to be challenged and eliminated in our society.

We need to stop "judging" people's abilities and their intelligence by what we see, what seems "different" to us and what we've "been taught" to believe.

Intolerance. Exclusion.  On the one hand.

Tolerance.  Acceptance.  On the other hand.

Generation to generation we pass along positives and negatives. 

Let's review what we consider those to be and redirect our thinking when evaluating the value of our fellow human beings.

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