On ‘WET CLAY AND CHARACTER’ By Mwangi Ndegwa

Back in my formative years and early schooling, I remember learning was more practical than theory.We used to do most of our...


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Back in my formative years and early schooling, I remember learning was more practical than theory.

We used to do most of our learning through making of things. We could write the alphabet with wet clay, make shapes of pottery items, people, animals, trees, buildings or even cars. This clay could not work if it was dry or too wet. It just needed enough water to make it stick so that once you moulded it, the shape would remain intact.

There was a process before you could use it to mould anything. Once sourced, you had to remove pebbles, grass or any other other impurities so they would not affect the final product. If, for example, the lever shape you were making did not please you, you just needed to roll it into a ball and form something else. But there was a catch; this had to be done while the clay was still wet. Once set, that was it. You couldn’t change the shape so if it had a flaw somewhere or you didn’t like the shape, you simply had to live with the unpleasant shape.

“Sow a though, reap an action. Sow an action reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny” ~ Steve Covey. This quote fits in very well with my subject matter above. Nobody is born with a character. We all develop it as we grow. This is usually a process like the one we used to do when we were young or, as a potter makes his/her pottery. The clay has to be procured from a specific place, put on a shaping wheel where all impurities are removed. Then you knead it to remove all the air bubbles and it is from here, that you start now shaping it into what you want. Once you are satisfied with the product, you then take it through the final process called curing. Here,the still wet shape is subjected to extreme heat until it dries and turns a beautiful brown colour.

Our characters are shaped from our minds, from the thoughts we have, to the actions we take. By the time we form a habit, the shape is complete. People start identifying us by our habits. This is usually the only chance we have, to change our character. If we don’t and it goes past the character stage, we cannot change anything. Thoughts are like wet clay and we need to be careful what kind of thoughts we allow into our minds. It is hard to change a character and ultimately a destiny, so we need to get it right from the word go. To read more posts by Mwangi, click HERE

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