“Dad, how do I?”: Man Who Grew Up Without A Dad Makes Videos To Teach Kids Basic Household Skills

“Dad, how do I?”: Man Who Grew Up Without A Dad Makes Videos To Teach Kids Basic Household Skills

Who do you run to you when you’re having a hard time doing your tie right? Your dad. Who do you yell out for when the toilet’s got a plumbing issue? Your dad. Who do you consult when you need to fix a flat tire? That’s right, your dad. Fathers are amazing and their roles in a child’s life can never be underestimated, and it certainly spans beyond household and maintenance skills. A responsible father figure who cares, nurtures, and provides is important for a child’s growth and development as a well-adjusted individual. [1]

Sadly, not everyone gets to grow up with a father around, and while most people would still grow up to be fully functional adults, a father’s influence is not always replaceable.

This was the motivation for Rob Kenney, a famous father of two adult children who runs the amazing YouTube channel, Dad, How do I? [2] Kenney, from Bellevue Washington, grew up in a family of 8 children and in his formative years, he didn’t have a dad to walk him through the basics of life. His parents had gotten a divorce when he was a teenager and the father got custody of the kids. When Kenney was 14, his dad came home one day and decided “he didn’t want kids anymore”. 

“He said (to the older kids), ‘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,’” Kenney said. [3]

Kenney later went to live with his 23-year-old brother in a mobile home and since getting married 29 years ago, he’s raised two children of his own and is now working towards being there for kids who need fatherly guidance.

Dad, how do I?

Kenney began his channel in mid-April with a video of “How to tie a tie”, and so far, he’s gotten over 2.1 million subscribers on YouTube. Kenney explains that the idea for the channel had always been on his mind, but he was just never motivated enough. The coronavirus pandemic turned out to be the big push he needed.

I had lots of excuses, but while we’re in quarantine, I ran out of excuses. I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” he said.

His channel’s description reads: “How To” videos by a dad who has raised 2 adults (and we still talk). I will do my best to provide useful, practical content to many basic tasks that everyone should know how to do.”

He’s made videos on tie-tying skills, unclogging tubs and toilets, ironing properly, how to shave a beard, changing a tire, checking your car’s oil, putting up a wooden shelf, and a few more helpful videos that have separately garnered hundreds of thousands of views in less than a couple of months. Besides teaching his viewers important skills for self-sufficiency, Kenney is also the funny dad that’s always ready to give out helpful life lessons. His videos are aesthetically made in homely, warm, and welcoming environments — which is kind of the whole point.

People are in love

Kenney’s channel has quickly become one of the most loved and appreciated on YouTube. So many people are thankful for his helpful videos and efforts, including those who grew up with their dads around.

Kenney recently made a four-minute video to appreciate all his fans and subscribers for supporting his very young channel. The video was posted on May 20 when he was at 400K subscribers. A week later, the channel hit 2 million and counting. 

Many viewers in the comments have referred to Kenney as the perfect dad, but in his opinion, he’s just an “internet dad” who didn’t figure it all out at once.

Please understand I didn’t always do everything right with my kids. If I fail, if you’re gonna fail as a dad; it’s part of the human experience,” he said. “You aren’t gonna always do things right, so I think it’s very important to ask for forgiveness and not pretend that you’ve got it all figured out. ‘Cause your kids are gonna find out sooner or later that you don’t have it figured out when they grow up, right? They don’t remain little for long; the window that you have them is such a short time.

An inspiring comment on YouTube read: “I was raised without a father, my mother was a single parent. I’ve always dreamed of having a real father figure. These videos made me cry, purely because I find these to be so heartwarming. Thank you for doing this. You have no idea how much this means to a lot of folks out there. Myself included!”

A couple of Kenney’s videos (watch more on his channel):


  1. The Science of Dad and the ‘Father Effect’.” Fatherly. Joshua Krisch. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  2. ” Man who grew up without a dad makes heartwarming how-to videos for kids.NY Post. Eric Hegedus.Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  3. Dad Who Grew Up Without A Father Starts Basic Skills YouTube Channel.” Yahoo. Cassandra Stone. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  4. Youtube.
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