Having parental figures while growing up is a monumental factor in how children are raised and the people they become. My father is a handyman, but his gardening skills are superb, something I strive to mirror when I get older. My mother, in comparison, has shown me compassion for other people and how to find happiness in even the worst situations. While most people have supporting figures in their life to guide and teach them, many are not as lucky in this area. This ranges from simple tasks like tying a tie to more major aspects of life like understanding connections with others.
Rob Kenney is a man who grew up without a father. The digital age has expanded how people can interact with one another, reaching audiences all over the globe. Kenney has used this to his advantage. Kenney, who now has grown children, has decided to use his lack of a father figure to help those like him by reaching out to the youth in the most influential way possible… through YouTube.
‘Dad, how do I’ is a YouTube channel created by Rob Kenney to share, as he describes, useful and basic tasks that everyone should know, or ‘dadvice’ as he calls it. However, many of these tasks are taught by parents, oftentimes fathers. His description on YouTube explains “How To" videos by a dad who has raised two 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.” His most recent video is titled “I am proud of you!” His videos provide a support system through a screen for kids who need some more support in their lives. His persona gives off a calming, heart-warming presence and a sense of support, even if not necessarily needed by the viewer.
According to TheDad.com, only a few days ago, before going viral, he had almost 42,000 followers. When I last checked on May 21, he had 1.52 million subscribers, having increased his subscriber count over 36 times in a matter of mere days.
But who is Rob Kenney? As one of eight children in Washington, Kenney’s parents divorced when he was a young age. In an interview, Kenny mentions how although his father gained custody of the children, he did not want them. His father practically walked out on all of them. It became a sort of mission for Rob once he had his own children, to provide a creative and meaningful experience that he himself did not have. He wanted to help those children who did not have a father figure themselves.
Rob Kenny is providing a support system through the power of the internet to give to those who grew up in similar situations to him, because he knows that growing up without a parent can be detrimental to a child’s well-being. Even those who do not share in this can find peace in his videos. In a time during the ever-present fear of the Coronavirus, Rob Kenny’s videos can bring about a sense of positivity and hopefulness in a era of unknowns.