I met you when I was 29—only a few years older than you are now. I was NOT a Ninja Dad. I was a 20-something who had never been a parent before. I was a lot of things, but an experienced parent was not one of them. You were my first kid.

I tried to do the best job I could. But if I’m honest with myself, YOU taught me way more than I taught you. You taught me patience, understanding, and humor. You taught me to enjoy the moment. You taught me so much.

I started out as a 29-year-old who had no idea what I was doing. You helped me. You helped me become a Ninja Dad. Without you I wouldn’t be the dad I am today. That is the truth. You have had such a profound effect on our family. I am a better dad to your younger siblings because of you. So, not only have you helped me, you have helped them too. They are reaping the benefits of your hard work.

I made a lot of mistakes along the way. I am sorry. You were sweet and quiet and as stubborn as anyone I have ever met in your own quiet way. I respect that.

You have grown into a kind, responsible woman. I am so proud of you, and I am so thankful that you are such a strong forgiving person. Thank you. Thank you for being the first. Thank you for being so kind and understanding. I love you, kid. Here you are working on the Ninja Dad blog like a BOSS. I am SO thankful.

You are not my stepdaughter. You are my daughter, plain and simple.

To all the first-time aspiring Ninja Dads out there, learn. Learn from your stepdaughter, learn from your first-born. Be thankful, they are on the front line! They will teach you, whether you want them to or not. And they will put up with you and all your mistakes. Mine sure did.

If You’re Not into the Mushy Stuff…

My (step)daughter taught me so much about how to be a good dad. But I still have three young children, and there’s plenty of parenting left to do. That means a lot of repeating myself. We enjoy many things about the Ninja Dad life, but one thing we don’t like is repeating ourselves. Constantly. Especially when it has to do with manners, behavior, and general commonsense decorum.

So, rather than nag ourselves hoarse, we developed a genius reminder system to keep our kids in line. They’re called manners cards, and we swear, sometimes they actually work. Check them out here.

Why Every Kid Should Have a Dog

Hilarious (and Great) Ninja Dad Kid Quotes

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