May 2020


Fightin’ Nature

It’s funny how man tries to fight its inner nature.

Today I was talking to a 50-some year old Hoosier—and for some reason she revealed that although she is right handed now, it hasn’t always been that way.

Back when she was a schoolgirl the schools didn’t want their children to be left-handed—so they yelled at the kids in order to make them switch to writing with their right hand. The teacher-abuse worked in her case and she now writes with her right hand. According to Wikipedia:

Until the latter part of the twentieth century, Roman Catholic nuns in US and Canadian elementary schools would punish children for using their left hand to write, typically by slapping their left hand with a ruler if they attempted to pick up a pen with it.

It’s funny how American society has changed over time though—we no longer stigmatize children who write with their left hand (even though they’re clearly insane), we let them blossom and use their left hand to write and pitch. Note, that, at least according to Wikipedia, religious types were inflicting the pain for being lefthanded.

Which raises the question—why do we fight human nature so much? Why do we scream at people who dress or talk differently from the mainstream behaviors? Does it really matter that somebody writes with their left hand instead of their right hand? Is handedness the only thing where we are overly judgmental?

4 comments to Fightin’ Nature

  • The nuns turned my mother right-handed. They could only get me ambidextrous.

    It was my proof to my mom that the Roman Catholic Church was losing power.

  • Oops. They also made me quick to hit post.

    It mattered when left-handers could sneak a knife in you while shaking hands.

    We’re also pretty judgmental about hair, or lack-thereof.

  • I also used to be left handed. Then I went to nursery school, where my teacher forced me to use my right hand. It was a blessing in a way, because my elementary school had an acute shortage of lefty armchairs. Besides, Thomas thinks that I picked up German so quickly because the switch forced more connections between my left and right hemispheres. I still think it’s the bilingualism.

    People’s tendency to label is in itself human nature. Humans wouldn’t have survived if they couldn’t distinguish dangerous from safe. So anything different is still construed as something dangerous. Tough but true.

  • It’s amazing how everybody herds together–the different is dangerous construct is quite common in elementary schools…