"Mom?" Nathaniel called to me the other day. "Do you have something called distilled white vinegar?"
"Yeeeees," I replied. "How much do you need? I have 3 1/2 gallons."
He took the half gallon and disappeared out the back door. Shortly, he was back with a wide grin. "Come see," he said.
I followed him out to his Mustang, and he showed me two different sections on the hood of his car. One had water spots, and the other one didn't. He was using the vinegar to take the spots out and was really pleased with the way it was working. He said that he found the vinegar tip on the internet.
The car has been one of the best learning experiences he has had. Something always needs his attention, and he has been forced to figure it out. His dad has worked with him on this, trying his best to guide him without taking over and doing it himself, which is really hard for him. Not only has Nathaniel gained great mechanical knowledge, he has learned a lot about himself and how people approach problems differently. For instance, when his clutch went out, his dad saw the first step as going under the car and looking at the transmission to see what would need to be done to get it out. Nathaniel wanted to look it up on the internet. This led to another "people skills" learning experience, as neither could see at first where the other one was coming from. To add to the stress, it was Christmas and freezing cold. They eventually got it worked out and the huge job of changing out the clutch on that car successfully accomplished.
Once all the pain was over, Nathaniel just swelled with confidence. The experience was worth every moment of pain and suffering. It was a rite of passage.