I’m always fascinated by labels and meaning and the attributes we actively choose to apply to people and thoughts and concepts. Disambiguation is important — words have previously defined meanings — and to purposefully change the common use of a word to fit a narrow political stream, or a personal agenda, is both dangerous and daunting. There are two words I’ve lately been pondering: Precious and Precocious!
Precious is almost always applied to a child to describe behavior and demeanor. There are few adults who would accept “precious” as a compliment — unless, of course, they were being mocked, or named as such, and I know from personal experience there are people in the world named “Precious” at birth and who are not that in adulthood.
Objects tend to have preciousness applied and that says a lot about how we view our kids — more chattel than child.
Precocious is a much more interesting, if mature word, that is pretty much, once again, applied to the chattel we call our children. While precociousness may not always involve sexualized behavior, the penchant for the precocious label is placed on more female children than male.
Is the wanderlust expectation that female kids are maturing faster than their opposing gender?
I have yet to meet any adults who were named “Precocious” at birth, but that may be more my lack of experience than by naturalistic executed design.
The spelling and sounding of “precious” against “precocious” is amazing to both ear and eye — and yet each of those concepts are exploding and oppositional.
Would we prefer to be precious or precocious if we had a choice in our own listing? Few of us, I would think, would ever want each simultaneously applied.
“Precious Moments” are a line of tiny curios created for purchase and display. The bitty bits of ceramic tend to be emotionally gelded and romantically infantilized — and the hallmark giant, teardrop-shaped, black eyes appear to eschew the very notion of preciousness, except in the exceptionally depressed and in the routinely decomposing exemplar.
Perhaps it is that very inhuman articulation that gives merit to the entire line of pre-posed cuteness?
There doesn’t appear to be a “Precocious Instances” line of ceramic displaythings.
Is it no wonder why?
We yearn to demonstrate our own preciousness to the the world — let the precociousness in us be damned to the dark side of the bookshelf where we are want to lurk with Freud, Wittgenstein and Kinsey and others of their unnaturalized ilk!
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned in childhood, it is that it is better to behave than to rebel — for one rewards and the other punishes — and the same caste can be made for appearing precious while divining precociousness.
Do we want to live in a posable future? Or shall we rather survive, unarticulated, and free — but nasty! — to do our own revolutionary business under the lurking moon of the precocious child in us who has not yet learned to leaven the expectation of cleverness against wonder?