It’s a story far too common, often with a sad cycle of disappointment and neglect that ruins generations of families. But in this family, someone broke the cycle.

Rob Kenney’s dad left his family when he was only 12. Rob was one of eight kids, and when this upheaval happened, some of his siblings were already adults. At the age of 14, he was forced to go live with his older brother.

The trauma of having his father walking out on them stayed with Rob. But he decided to do something good with it.

A father figure for kids who don’t have one

Rob is now a father of two grown children and he wants better for other kids, who find themselves growing up without a dad. So he decided to start a YouTube channel “Dad, How Do I?” full of free practical advice and wisdom kids may go to their dads for, assuming they had a dad that was around.

These advice videos cover topics like “Ways To Tie a Tie”, “How to Unclog a Sink” and “How to Check the Car Oil.” His channel was only started in April 2020, but it’s already exploded in popularity! And it’s only growing in popularity across other forms of social media as well.

A Facebook post shared by Chris Hart described Kenney’s “Practical ‘Dadvice'” channel has gone incredibly viral, which lead to even more followers for Kenney’s YouTube channel, which is now up to nearly a million subscribers.

His intention was always to give back

In an interview with WICU on May 13, Rob explained what prompted him to start “Dad, How Do I?” Much of it has to do with his upbringing.

“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,” Rob said.

That’s why he was inspired to give back to others.

So if I could pass some of what I have learned, to help people…and it’s it’s definitely resonating. I’m getting such amazing comments from people. I’m humbled by it.

Rob Kenney

His daughter helps him find ideas

Rob’s own daughter helps him run the channel and she herself calls him with adulting questions all the time. In fact, this is how he gets many of his video ideas!

Rob knows that being a father is much more complex than the advice he gives out. “Obviously there’s a lot more to being a dad than being able to screw in a light bulb or whatever,” he explained. But to him, that’s a first step into hopefully much bigger projects.

“We talk about all kinds of things—finances, and what do you do with this, and what do you do with that.” He’s trying to figure out how to cover some of those subjects, and may branch out into doing a podcast.

He never expected his success

Rob never expected to touch people in such a profound way. “I was just thinking I was going to be showing people how to do stuff. But it’s resonated on such a different level,” he told WICU.

In fact, he has unknowingly been a source of comfort to many.

Some of the emotional responses I’ve gotten from people who don’t have fathers, or didn’t have a relationship with their father, or have lost their father, you know, and they’ve said they watched my videos in tears, just being reminded of missing their dad. It’s amazing.

Rob Kenney

And some of the comments under his videos prove his words.

Kenney has turned his own personal upheaval into an amazing gift to the world. What a great dad–and guy! He shows that our small actions can indeed have much more meaningful impact on others.

If you have a project or hope to make a change or help others, then believe that it can work!

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