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The ‘Internet’s Dad’ Spreads Hope To Millions With YouTube Channel, ‘Dad, How Do I?’

Rob Kenney was inspired by his own kids to start the 'Dad, How Do I?' YouTube channel to help others

“Oh, I don’t know, Kristine,” Rob Kenney laughed as he talked with his daughter. “I’ve just lived a long time…I don’t know if anyone would even be interested in what I have to say!”

“But Dad, you’re so full of great ideas!” Kristine encouraged. “You should find a way to share them. I bet there are a lot of kids who would appreciate having you as a father figure…kids who don’t have a dad.”

“I know how that feels,” the 55-year-old Seattle resident sighed, his mind drifting to his youth. When he was just 12 years old, Rob’s own dad had left his family, so Rob and his siblings had to raise themselves. Later in life, Rob had reconciled with his father, but he’d still had to teach himself the life skills his father had never taught him — skills, he realized, that could help kids needing love, just like he had been.

Rob Kenney teaching son, Kyle how to mow
Rob Kenney teaching son, Kyle how to mowRob Kenney

“Why not start a YouTube channel?” Kristine suggested. “You could help people who never had someone to teach them. You could make a difference, Dad!”

And suddenly, Rob felt a flutter of excitement. “You know what, Kristine?” he smiled. “Maybe I will.”

Rob teaching his daughter how to make biscuits, which he now does for his 'Dad, How Do I?' subscribers
Rob teaching his daughter how to make biscuits, which he now does for his ‘Dad, How Do I?’ subscribersRob Kenney

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The power of ‘Dadvice’

As their conversation ended, Rob’s mind flooded with all the lessons he had taught Kristine and his son, Kyle, over the years, like how to change a tire, tie a tie and even make his special biscuit recipe.

At once, Rob cued up his computer and pulled up YouTube, pondering what he would name his channel. Suddenly, memories of his kids racing to him with questions came to mind, all starting with one phrase.

Rob shares how to bake his signature biscuits in a Dad, How Do I? YouTube video
Rob shares how to bake his signature biscuits in a Dad, How Do I? YouTube videoRob Kenney

“I’m calling it ‘Dad, How Do I?’” Rob teased his daughter as he got his channel running days later. “It’s an homage to you and your brother always asking me how to do things!”

To start, Rob decided to make a simple video showing how to tie a tie. Hitting the “Upload” button, he felt content. Maybe that’ll help a few people, he smiled.

But within a few days, the video had gone viral, and Rob suddenly saw his picture being plastered across the web as he was dubbed the “Internet’s Dad.”

“I didn’t do this for fame,” Rob told his wife, Annelli. “I just wanted to leave a positive legacy!”

But any trepidation he felt evaporated when his phone lit up with a comment from a new follower.

Hi, Dad! it read. Touched by a stranger willing to call him Dad, Rob commented back with a waving hand emoji. Thanks for noticing me, Dad! the follower responded right away.

Rob couldn’t contain the smile that broke out across his face. Maybe being the “Internet’s Dad” wouldn’t be such a bad thing, he thought, his heart soaring. And just like that, he’d made up his mind: He would keep making the videos.

Rob teaches how to use jumper cables
Rob teaches how to use jumper cables on the Dad, How Do I? YouTube channelRob Kenney

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A legacy of love

As he continued uploading videos teaching how to unclog a drain, change a tire and use tools, Rob extended his video-making skills to making messages for his followers, saying how proud and thankful he was for them.

And as his channel grew by leaps and bounds each week, it became clear that his followers were thankful for him too. Today, Rob has nearly 5 million subscribers — of all ages! — who leave comments and messages of gratitude.

“I thought I was just teaching simple skills a father might teach his kids, but this has become my chance to make a difference!” says Rob Kenney, creator of 'Dad, How Do I"
“I thought I was just teaching simple skills a father might teach his kids, but this has become my chance to make a difference!” says Rob Kenney, creator of ‘Dad, How Do I”Rob Kenney

I never had a dad, so I’ve never known a feeling like this, one subscriber wrote to him. I can’t explain how it feels hearing you tell me that you’re proud of me.

You’ve changed my life, shared another. I feel like somebody finally cares about me!

Rob, who also released a book called Dad, How Do I?, with practical “Dadvice,” personal stories and messages of love and hope, agrees that his life has been changed too by his viewers’ heartfelt messages.

“I thought I was just teaching them how to do everyday tasks,” he says. “But the emotional connection they feel shows that taking time to care for someone by teaching a simple skill makes them feel loved, cared for and valued. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and say, ‘What could I possibly do?’ in today’s world, but even if you help one person, it’s worth it. If we all take care of each other, it goes a long way!”

Rob and family - son Kyle, daughter Kristine, son in law Ryan, wife Annelli
Rob Kenney with his family who inspired him to start Dad, How Do I? (L-R): son Kyle, daughter Kristine, son-in-law Ryan, wife AnnelliRob Kenney

Watch all of of Rob’s videos on the Dad, How Do I? YouTube channel and follow him on Instagram at @dadhowdoi


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