- Don’t let the “small stuff” pass you by. “Kids grow up so fast. In a blink of an eye they’re out of diapers and driving your car. Savor every minute. I always balance my work with my time at home, because I don’t want to wake up one morning and realize I’ve missed their childhood. I make my family my top priority.”
Be tough — and tender. “Sometimes I think it’s impossible to balance both. You have to be firm, you have to lay down the laws; yet you also have to remember what it was like to be that age. I beat myself up all the time-‘Was I too strict? Did I go too far?’ Guilt goes hand in hand with being a dad.”
There are no rules. “Why didn’t someone write the book on being the perfect parent? Why don’t they send you to school to study? Because
there’s no such thing. You make the rules as you go along. I think about how my parents raised me — there are things I do differently and things I try to emulate. I think about how our friends raise their kids. Then I go with what I feel is right. No one ever said it was going to be easy.”
Kids are people, too. “How may times have I started a sentence, ‘As long as you live under my roof…’ But I try to cut my kids some slack, especially the older ones. Sure, I want to keep them from making the mistakes I did, but you can only give them the foundation they need to build on.
Have an open-door policy. “My kids can talk to me about anything, any time. I make sure they know that. I want them to feel that if they are everin trouble, their dad is their best friend and the one they can turn to — no matter how big the problem is. Sometimes I’m amazed at the stuff they know so young; amazed at what they are curious about. But no topic is ever off limits. I’m always honest with my kids, and they’re honest with me in return