One of the purest things you’ll find on YouTube is a channel called “Dad, how do I?”
55-year-old Rob Kenney is a father of two who himself grew up without a father. Rob teaches children and adults, many of whom also are without a dad, basic life skills such as how to tie a tie, how to grill food, how to roast marshmallows, how to jump start a car and much more. In a short amount of time, millions of people have started following him online.
Rob himself knows how much children long for a dad when they grow up without one. Growing up, his parents struggled in their relationship, as his mother had an alcohol problem and his father was quite detached from their family. His parents divorced, with his father winning custody of Rob and his 7 siblings and then creating a restraining order on their mother, but he wasn’t able to raise 8 children by himself.
“He got custody of us, but he didn’t really want us,” Rob said. “I think he was kind of done by that time.”
By age 12 Rob’s father had left his children, and with a strained relationship with his mom, Rob really depended on his siblings as he grew up. He moved in with his newlywed 23-year-old brother into an 8×35 ft mobile home. He later got married himself, and today he has two adult children; one an educator and the other a software engineer.
As his children moved out, Rob began to feel the effects of having an “empty nest.” He decided that he would spend his free time creating free-to-watch videos online which would provide children with “practical ‘dadvice’ for everyday tasks.” The pandemic also gave him and his viewers plenty of time at home to watch videos.
“I want it to be about everyday tasks, but I also would like to pass along some of the wisdom I’ve learned along the way to encourage people,” Rob said about his videos. “I thought I was just going to be showing people how to do stuff, but it’s kind of resonating on a whole different level.”
Many of Rob’s videos center on positive messages of encouragement, such as “I am proud of you,” “We need each other!” and “Be good to yourself!”
Many who have grown up without a father have been very vocal in their support and appreciation for what Rob is doing, sharing their own stories of times when they needed a father.
“My goal in life was to raise good adults, not good children, but good adults, because I had a fractured childhood,” Rob said.
Carmona, also known as Mother Moon on Twitter, was one of the first to share Rob’s videos online with her post reaching more than 2 million.
“So many people were reaching out with their stories on grief and loss. Asking for my advice or how I navigated through my own grief in hopes that they could start their own healing journey,” Carmona said, adding that she, like Rob, had also been abandoned by a parent. “It was really eye opening yet heartbreaking to see that so many individuals have gone through so much hurt, yet lovely to see them continue navigating through life in such a beautiful way.”
Many hearts have deeply appreciated Rob’s kind videos.
“Seeing this brought me to tears,” said one Twitter user.
“I don’t miss my dad, but I miss the dad I could have had… the dad who did this stuff with me,” wrote another.
Here is a popular video by Rob on “Dad, how do I?” teaching us how we can fix a running toilet:
You are Loved.