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Steering down the slow road

Although Kayte’s and her dad’s original plan had been to purchase two VW bugs and combine parts for a road-worthy whole one, the fact that the car had started and run for a while lead them to believe they could skip buying a second car and purchase used parts as needed. One of her assignments was to read the repair manual and begin to try to figure out what was what.

One thing they noticed right away was that most of the wiring was rusted, had the plastic covering destroyed, or was missing altogether. They decided to strip all the wiring from the car and redo it entirely. But first, out came everything…the seats, the floor mats, even the steering wheel. One unexpected bonus of the VW was that it was small and simple, relatively easy for a beginner to figure out. In no time, Kayte was reading electrical schematics like a pro. During summer days, she developed a routine: body work until it was too hot to work, afternoons reading and learning from the manual, evenings with her dad coaching as she began more complicated work. They set weekly goals which helped guide her to daily tasks.

In a world programed for instant gratification, working slowly and methodically through an enormous project is something most kids never have the opportunity to do. Yet the ability to delay gratification correlates highly with almost every element of success from doing well in college to delaying sexual activity. A tangible project which can only be accomplished in a slow but steady fashion helps teens develop that necessary skill of delaying gratification. Being able to break down a large task into component chores also provides a lifelong lesson.