Dad, how do I?/YouTube
‘Dad how do I…’ are four words of most youngsters growing up. After making ‘tutorial’ videos for those without a father, a Washington man has amassed more than 1.5 million subscribers in just six days.
Rob Kenney’s father left his family when he was just 14 years old, spurring him to move in with his older brother as a moody adolescent. While grateful for his sibling’s support, it wasn’t necessarily an easy upbringing after his dad departed.
Decades later, with a wife of 29 years and two successful adult kids, Rob has found a way to pay it forward: helpful videos for people without their parents, teaching them the sort of tasks one would usually learn from their dad.
There’s only a handful of tutorials on his Dad, how do I? YouTube page, but they cover the practical bases you’d imagine: shaving, unclogging a sink, changing a tyre, hanging up a shelf and tying a tie, to name a few. His popularity has skyrocketed over the past week – in a recent video, he says his life has been ‘turned upside down’.
Rob explained in an interview with Shattered:
My goal in my life was to raise good adults. I never wanted to be wealthy. I never wanted to be necessarily successful. My goal in life was to raise good adults – not good children but good adults – because I had a fractured childhood.
Rob also recounted his parents’ fractured relationship, made worse when his Kansas mother was forced to move for his dad’s work. ‘By the time I got to be 10, 11, 12, you could definitely tell there was some dysfunction going on. We used to have even boxes in our downstairs because my mom never really unpacked,’ he said.
Later, they divorced, with his dad getting custody. However, Rob’s father wasn’t keen on dealing with children at that time in his life.
He got custody of us, but he didn’t really want us. I think he was kind of done by that time… He said: ‘You know, I’m done having kids… you’re going to have to figure out where these kids are going because otherwise I’m putting them in foster homes.’
Years later, as adults, Rob and his brother organised a fishing trip with their dad, who was in his 80s. He apologised for how he treated them, making a ‘point of trying to talk to each one of us individually’. Not long after, he passed away – but they had managed to reconcile.
Rob had been considering starting up the YouTube channel for quite sometime, but had always found a reason not to. However, with lots of spare time in quarantine, he finally took the plunge.
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. 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.
If you’d like to check out the rest of Rob’s handy videos, you should check out his channel here.
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