I don't think there is one "secret formula" for parenting. Every child is different and so every child should be parented differently. However, there are probably some good pieces of wisdom that every parent should consider. I found a list recently at the "Zen Habits" blog (I don't agree with everything I read there, but they do have good stuff about living more simply).
I would place varying degrees of importance on each of these items, but I do think all of them represent positive parenting practices:
1. Teach kids to be self-sufficient.
2. Teach older kids to help with the younger kids.
3. Teach them to solve problems.
4. Show them how to be passionate.
5. Play with them outside, and be active.
6. Don’t overschedule.
7. Don’t dote.
9. Read with them, and read in front of them.
10. Be inquisitive.
So, what do you think? Which of these is the best idea? Are there any with which you disagree? What would you add as a "universal" piece of wisdom for parents?