Handedness and Morality: The Left-Handed

While people are generally found to be right-handed, oftentimes, we come across those that are left-handed. We refer to this as laterality. It means the preferential use of one side of the body, especially the use of vision or limbs. Hence, we have eyededness, handedness and leggedness.

There are three categories of handedness; dextrality which involves the preference in the use of the right side of the body, sinistrality which is the preference in using the left side and ambidextrality which involves equal manipulation of both the left and right sides of the body.

Conversing on this topic one day with my Father, he contends that a child’s sinistrality (the use of left hand) is to be blamed on the negligence of parents, especially the mother, who is the child’s first school. My Father’s assertions are based on a general moral belief that only endorses dextrality (the use of right).

Unlike people like my father who believe sinistrality is gradually nurtured as a habit, others tend to believe it’s inborn but can be altered. However, it is pertinent to note that the sinistrality our society is concerned about is mostly about activities that involve the limbs. For example, eating, writing, handshakes, giving or receiving objects from others.

In my experience, I have come to notice that my sinistral students are the best and quickest writers. They also exhibit fine motor skills as well as a high premium physical strength.

However, it is needless to mention that our world is dextrally inclined. Machines, tools, appliances, equipment are designed to suit the dextral. The sinistral are expected to adjust to this. As a result, the sinistral often become easily fatigued and cannot cope with the speed of the right-handers.

As earlier mentioned, my father’s argument on the sinistral is morally inclined that he conveniently blames the sinistral child’s parents while equally believing it has no psychological implications. He justifies this by fondly narrating how one of his teachers back then would dexter sinistral pupils who later turned out to be mentally alright, as far as he was concerned.

Ironically, he is not even conscious of the fact that the daughter writing this piece is sinistral as well! The only reason I’m not sinistrally obvious to my father is that I was raised to be ‘morally dextral’ including when writing.

Psychologists postulate that left-handers are often conspicuous and appear maladjusted. Thus, they hold a negative self-concept. Therefore, handedness should not be forced.

Photo credit: NDTV

It is very important to understand that there is a relationship between mental ability and motor skills, which is why a forced alteration of a child’s handedness may result in stuttering and nervousness in later years.

While this piece is intended at encouraging both teachers and parents not to force handedness, however, there are certain aspects of moral standards that must be met with prudence in most cultures, especially most african cultures. These include handshakes, receiving or collecting things from others, eating, and so on.

Nevertheless, it cannot be generally ascertained that all cultures emphasise right handedness as part of moral standards.

On this note, parents and teachers, while being mindful of the inclination of handedness in societal morals, should not compel handedness where unnecessary.





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