Just a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the CBS Morning News on a restful Sunday when the show reported what for me was a disturbing link between the use of hands and the happiness of one’s brain.
The show asked, “Are you the kind of person who actually likes washing dishes? How about folding laundry? Yard work? What all these have in common, of course, is they occupy our hands. And as it turns out, some researchers think that may be key to making our brains very happy.”
I DON’T THINK SO! Do you know what washing dishes, folding laundry, and yard work have in common? I’ll tell you what. I have always hated doing all of them, and I am here to tell you unequivocally that my brain is extremely happy.
Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond, actually said, “If you’re making something and painting or cooking and putting things together, and you’re using both hands in a little bit more creative way, that’s going to be more engaging for the brain.”
Ms. Lambert has been using rodents to study the hand-brain connection, and she believes the rats that dug for a reward showed greater signs of mental health, when compared to what she calls her “trust fund rats,” which got a pass on doing any physical work.
I have spent an entire lifetime trying to avoid using my hands whenever possible. As a youngster, I went to a progressive summer camp that insisted that all campers get a well-rounded experience—which unfortunately included shop. I would suffer extreme anxiety hours before shop commenced. Anything I made in shop had to be identified in writing, because no human being could possibly decipher whether the object I created was an ashtray or a potholder.
In other words, I am living proof that Ms. Lambert needs to reconsider her conclusion. Rats who work may be happier, but I can assure you that I am happiest when I sit on my hands.
As if all this talk of using one’s hands weren’t bad enough, along comes the New York Times and an article entitled “Happy Children Do Chores.” I do not believe this story fits the Times’ slogan “All the news that’s fit to print.” I was once a child, and I did everything I could to avoid chores. The simple fact is, the fewer chores I was forced to do, the happier I was.
The article states, “Being a part of the routine work of running a household helps children develop an awareness of the needs of others, while at the same time contributing to their emotional well-being.” Again with the emotional well-being. I hated chores and still do. I did as few chores as humanly possible, and my emotional well-being is just fine, thank you, New York Times.
The article refers to a study done over 25 years that found the best predictor for young adults’ success in their mid-20s was whether they participated in household tasks at age three or four. A Jewish American prince, I did few if any chores at age three or four (or five and six, for that matter), and by my mid-20s held a good paying job on Wall Street and brought home the bacon, (not a Jewish expression). So much for doing chores.
And so I guess the Trumpsters are right this time–the elitist media giants CBS and the New York Times have it all wrong.