A little late on this one but here it goes:
Some of the best advice I ever got from my Father - who has never been shy about offering advice - and this was literally walking into the church to get married was to "always focus on her."
He was saying this in the context of hopefully children one day and that if the relationship with the spouse is good everything else can be handled from a solid foundation.
I believe we have been fairly successful so far in building that foundation and that it has allowed us to handle just about every challenge we have faced together.
Father's Day got me thinking about what it means to be blessed with the opportunity to raise two wonderful people.
Robbie and Anna Helen are amazing and are growing so fast. No great issues to report but that is a good thing.
Susann and I have slightly different approaches with me a little more on the firm word and a little pat on the backside and Susann a little more on the reasoning side. No right or wrong on those approaches just different.
I do believe that different kids respond differently (shocking I know) to the same parenting. Having said that you still need to appear as even handed as possible.
I know I drove my parents crazy at times - usually related to an academic record that did not reflect what they believed I was capable of and they were right.
I guess the real art is how to motivate a kid to do the right thing while at the same time allowing enough "freedom of maneuver" to allow them to learn (and fail) without doing too much damage.
To be fair my VAST parenting experience dealing with challenges has been limited to Robbie staying up too late.
I started out referring to advice my Father gave me - I hope that I am half the Father to Robbie and Anna Helen that my Father has been and continues to be to me. He and my Mom did more for me than I ever realized as a kid. They sacrificed a great deal to ensure that I had every possible opportunity to succeed. No less is expected of me.