Clay is moldable and can be shaped in any which way we like, just like our children whose learning and practice is moldable by us. We have to clean and polish our clay object as well as we can before making them into final products. If there has been a crack or breakage – not to worry – it can be fixed. Our children are more adaptable than us – adults. Any damage or a childhood setback is fixable. New experiences and skill-sets can be molded, helping children overcome their environmental difficulties.
One more thing that we must bear in mind is the design! We must have the design in mind so we know exactly what we are making. That will help us decide the amount of clay, kind of clay-tools and the size of the kiln needed to make the object. We should ponder over and set in exactly the kind of values and skills we want our children to learn, to shape them into better human beings.
Once baked, the clay article remains forever – no more changes or damage can be done. One can fix minor problems and stick broken clay pieces together, but there is a certain finality to baking of clay. Similarly as adults we become more set in our ways and habits become more permanent. A lot of critical thinking and reinforcements later can we change our set behavioral patterns – just like a fired clay object. Childhood is our learning license to adapt and evolve, while adulthood is the actual act of driving. That is why personality disorders are assessed in adulthood and not childhood!
An artifact is not created individually; one needs help in terms of ideas, execution, shaping and even firing the final product. It takes a lot of hands to give an idea its final physical form! Similarly shaping the personality of a young one requires many beautiful minds, careful hands, caring words and intelligent environmental situations to make a holistic individual. These go into our life-experiences’ kitty bag!
Lastly, working with clay is absolutely fun, so is interacting with children! Like clay- which makes us get a little dirty, a little sweaty and even anxious when things don’t shape up – children bring out all our weaknesses and make us question our strengths. The fun part is in figuring it out; maturing along with the transformation of clay into a solid, impressionable piece. The fun is in answering the queries of our children about the world, holding their hands through their difficult days, falling down with them and picking ourselves up, figuring out along with them innate mysteries of life and scaffolding them in enhancing their life skills.