Do you happen to know any contumacious people? Possibly some contumacious teenagers? A contumacious employee? Contumacious (kon-too-may-shuhs) is an adjective that means rebellious, disobedient, obstinately resistant to authority, stubbornly perverse, insubordinate, and rebellious. This can at times definitely describe teenagers! But then, this could also describe a whole host of other people – not just teenagers.
You can use contumacious when referring either to the person or the person’s actions. Someone who is breaking the law and gets caught could be contumacious. Someone who is required to one thing and does the complete opposite is contumacious. People who torture animals (being perverse) despite repeated warnings (and maybe someone’s effort to reform them) are contumacious. An employee who doesn’t do what he is asked to do is contumacious. Synonyms for contumacious include contrary, pigheaded, and headstrong.
In quite a different direction is someone who has rectitude. Rectitude (rek-ti-tood ) means moral uprightness and honesty, the rightness of principle or conduct, or having good moral virtue. Someone could have rectitude of judgment, rectitude of motives, or rectitude of actions. (Do politicians of rectitude of motive, judgment and actions? Maybe . . . . at the first of their political career . . . )
Someone who has rectitude could be described as someone who has moral straightness or uprightness, is full of goodness and integrity. These folks have virtue and righteousness. Quite the opposite of a contumacious person, huh?
If you know someone with rectitude, you might want to shower her with encomium. Encomium (en-koh-mee-uhm) is a noun that means warm glowing praise. Many times it is a formal expression of praise or a tribute. When someone retires, someone usually gives a speech at his retirement party that praises the person and all of their contributions to the company. The president of the United States might greet returning soldiers with an encomium for their bravery and efforts in a war. An Eagle Scout is honored with an encomium at his Court of Honor. Parents can give their children encomium – but it is usually not in a ‘formal’ setting. And, it should be quite often and not just a one time event!
If you have a contumacious teenager, you might want to give him an encomium — especially a public one. It just might change things!