There’s only one place James Van Der Beek wanted to be for his 43rd birthday — and that’s at home with his family on Sunday, March 8. The actor was surrounded by his beautiful wife, Kimberly Brook, and kids Olivia, 9, Joshua, 7, Annabel, 6, Emilia, 3, and Gwendolyn, 1.

“43 candles, five kids, an amazing wife … and more questions now than when I was half my my age and thought I knew everything,” he said in a sweet Instagram post. “Thank you to everyone who’s contributed along this crazy journey. Thanks for your love, your creativity, your compassion, your vulnerability … and most of all, for daring to live in your heart. #LifeIsATeamSport #AndWeAreAllOnTheSameTeam.”

James shared his heartfelt caption alongside a photo of him and his family at his birthday celebration. Everyone looked happy while staring at the Dancing With the Stars alum’s chocolate birthday cake. As a dad of five, James tries to be a better father to his kids every day and on Wednesday, February 26, he shared the best parenting advice he’s ever gotten.

“All I can conclude is there’s no one ‘right way’ to raise a tiny human,” the Dawson’s Creek alum wrote in an Instagram post. “But, the good news is … kids will totally teach you how to raise them. I swear. It’s not about how you think they ‘should’ be raised, or how that book you read says to raise them, or how your parents raised you, or even how you raised their sibling — ‘cause each kid is different.”

You can say that twice! That’s why James learned how to take care of each one of his kids individually. “If you listen with an open heart … they’ll totally make it clear what all those needs are,” he said. “And then they’ll change them. That’s why I feel like the best #parenting advice I ever got was: Connect with them every chance you get. Because it’s all an opportunity for connection.”

James is so wise! We can’t imagine the type of advice he’ll give when he reaches age 44.