According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost a quarter of all American children are growing up in a fatherless home. That’s almost 20 million kids.
And Rob Kenney? Was one of them. His father left when he was 12 years old. At the age of 14, Rob went to live with his 23-year-old newly married brother in his 8-by-35-foot mobile home. Now, years later, Rob is in his early 50s and is the father to two grown children.
And he is on a mission. To teach a new generation of fatherless children the life skills that he spent years learning on his own.
His YouTube channel, ‘Dad, How Do I?’ provides “useful, practical content to many basic tasks that everyone should know how to do.”
And no fatherless daughter, son, or handy-challenged among us will ever have to rely solely on duct tape and WD-40 again.
Every Thursday he releases a new “How To” video, ranging from how to shave to how to fix a running toilet. With the help of his daughter, who is always coming to him with questions about “adulting,” he has created 12 videos since he launched the channel in April.
- How to tie a tie
- How to change a tire
- How to check the air pressure in your tires
- How to iron a dress shirt
- How to check your car’s oil
- How to use a stud finder
- How to hang a shelf
- How to unclog a sink
- How to unclog a bathtub drain
And people are loving it. Thanks to the power of the internet, his channel has exploded almost overnight, growing from a mere 3500 viewers on May 13th to over 809K subscribers (and growing) as of this morning.
It was first shared on Twitter by @faisaltreshah on May 17th where it has garnered over 131K likes.
Found a YouTube channel of this guy who's Dad walked out on him when he was 12.
Now a dad to two (adult) kids himself, he's made a YouTube Channel called "Dad, How Do I?" – where he makes maintenance videos for people with no Dads.
— Bruce Wayne | The Wizard (@FaisalTreShah) May 17, 2020
Word then traveled to Facebook, where Chris Hart posted it to his page on May 19th, with the following caption:
This YouTuber’s dad walked out on his family when he was 12 years old.
Now that he’s a father of his own two adult children, he’s created a YouTube channel called “Dad, how do I?” where he posts videos of common tasks you might ask your dad for help with, so that children without fathers can use his videos as a resource.
I don’t know this man, but he got an instant subscribe from me. What an amazing, selfless thing to do for someone else.
It’s stories like these that give me hope for humanity.
This post? Has gone insanely viral in just 24 hours, with over 264K likes, 18K comments, and 516K shares.
This YouTuber’s dad walked out on his family when he was 12 years old. Now that he’s a father of his own two adult…
And we couldn’t love this more.
In an interview with WICU, Kenney talks about the motivation behind his “dadvice” channel, saying:
I come from a fractured home and so My goal in life was to raise good adults and so then when I got to, you know, early 50s, I’d felt like I’d already done that. Now what?
I still got a lot of life to live. So if I could pass some of what I have learned, to help people…and it’s definitely resonating. I’m getting such amazing comments from people. I’m humbled by it.”
He says that 85% of his audience are women aged 25 – 40. And the response has been overwhelming.
He has heard from people who don’t have fathers, or didn’t have a relationship with their father, or who have lost their father.
“…and they said they’ve watched my videos in tears, just being reminded of missing their dad. It’s amazing.”
And so is he.
I grew up with a single mother and she taught me almost everything I know. How to ride a bike, balance my finances, and fix a running toilet.
I watched her brick a wall in our kitchen, and stretch out 2 pork chops to feed a family of 4. She showed me how to make hospital corners when I make my bed, fold a fitted sheet, and what kindness looks like in action.
My single mom taught me what resilience and being self-sufficient looks like, how to parallel park and to always separate darks from lights. And I am grateful, for all of it.
There were, however, some things that she didn’t teach me. Things that tend to typically fall within the “dad realm.” It wasn’t until I met my now-husband that I learned how to check the oil in my car or how to change a flat tire.
I didn’t grow up knowing how to fix a leaky faucet, or how to pop a clutch, or what the difference was between a flathead and a Phillips screwdriver.
I didn’t have a father to turn to when I moved out of the house and needed to replace the plug on my toaster or install a new light fixture.
But now, thanks to the beauty and generosity of one man and YouTube, no fatherless child needs to go it alone.
There is someone to turn to when you are clueless and knee-deep in water from an overflowing toilet. Thank you, Rob, for filling a void and being the voice of fatherly wisdom that all of us fatherless children need.