I was just sent an e-mail with information about a study that says lefties are more accident prone, more musical, and better at math.
I found this interesting for a couple of reasons.
I’m a righty, and so is my husband. But our older son Matthew is a lefty, and our younger son Michael is sort of half-lefty (he does fine motor tasks like writing and eating with his left hand, but plays sports righty). So, the first thing I realized when I read this was that Matthew fits the profile perfectly – he can do more advanced math than I can handle, but occasionally trips over his own big, flat feet. He loves music, sings, and plays the saxophone.
Then, the other thing I thought about was as parents, how many of us tend to “profile” our kids. We chalk certain behavior up to gender, birth order, and even things like hair color, name, and handedness. And these things can start early. The day after our son Michael was born, a nurse told me that “of course” he was colicky and screaming his head off, and then she said, “it’s your own fault – you named him Michael.” Before that conversation, I had no idea of the “legend” of the name Michael, but I’ve since met a number of people who have confirmed that boys named Michael are more prone to mischief (and I’ve met some parents of Michaels have gone so far to call their sons’ behavior “evil.” We have some bad days, but I wouldn’t go that far with mine).
To some degree, I think this helps us explain behavior into neat little piles. And it gives us a conversation point with other parents – “Wow! You have a clumsy lefty and an evil Michael too?!” But sometimes not everything makes sense, and we’re not at all sure where to put it – I mean, Matthew has a really good memory … is that because he’s a lefty, a first-born, a redhead, or a boy? I just can’t figure it out.