Being a parent is tough. Believe me–I’ve had a doozy of a day, thanks to my 9-year-old. But this father in Germany shows us all how a parent can meet a challenge with class. Wouldn’t it be great if all parents were this supportive?

I think one of the best fictional depictions of parenthood is, well, Parenthood, the Steve Martin film. One of the characters in the movie says it’s like being on a rollercoaster–and it is. One minute you’re riding high because your kid is the spelling bee champ, the next you want to throttle her because she sent 16,000 text messages in a single month. One day she’s amazing you by properly using the word “ironic” in a sentence, and the next day you’re getting a phone call from the elementary school principal. One of my kids becomes an official teenager in October, and then I expect the roller coaster will only become steeper and faster. Whee?

I think it can be hard sometimes to let your kids express themselves. My older daughter came home from a sleepover last weekend wearing black lipstick and black nailpolish and wanting to dye her hair black. Now, personally it’s not a look I mind–I went through a punk phase as a teen that I’ve never quite outgrown–but teachers and other adults can be judgmental. I’m not sure I’d want her to wear that particular ensemble to school (where she’s already been warned not to write morbid stories for classroom assignments). We found a compromise–the nailpolish stays, the lipstick is gone (at least during school hours), and the hair got streaked blue.