Rob Kenney had a plan when he started his YouTube Dadvice channel: To pass his knowledge onto people who, like him, didn’t grow up with a father figure.
When Kenney was a young child, his father took custody of him and his siblings, as his mother struggled with alcoholism, he told TODAY Parents. But then when Kenney was 14, his father told them he didn’t want to have kids anymore.
His older brother took him in to finish raising him. Now Kenney, 55, has two grown children of his own — Kristine, 27, and Kyle, 25 — and a clear vision of what kind of father not to be.
“At a very young age, I determined I wasn’t going to do that — that I wanted to do it the right way,” he told TODAY.
Kenney has now gone viral because of his YouTube channel that features tutorials on how to do all kinds of things, from unclogging a bathtub and putting up a shelf to checking car oil and ironing a dress shirt. Some have even called him the “Mr. Rogers for adults.”
“It’s for anyone who feels like they need to learn something, or be empowered to learn something — that’s the aim of my channel,” he said.
Kenney said when viewers caught wind of his page and started sharing their experiences about growing up without a father figure, he was an “emotional wreck.”
“The responses and the comments — that was a little overwhelming for me,” he said.
Kenney hits every topic that a father figure might be expected to nail, the hard stuff and the lighthearted jokes.
“What time do you go to the dentist?"
(Get it? Anyone chuckling? Classic lame dad joke). 😂
In a recent video Kenney posted called “We need each other!” he speaks about generational gaps, his YouTube community and courage.
[Watch the full YouTube video below.]
“We need each other, especially with all that’s going on in the world," he said. "We need each other.”
Kenney goes on to discuss the gap between millennials and Baby Boomers, and how even between generational gaps, there are ways we can help each other. He also talks about his appreciation for his viewers and how they’ve gotten involved with other viewers who are obviously struggling or hurting.
But possibly the most impactful message he had was about courage.
"Courage -- think about how that makes you feel and how it just kind of brings up an emotion like, you can handle it. You’ve got this!” Kenney said.
“Now, if you add a prefix of ‘dis’ to the front of it, what does that mean? You’re actually taking away courage. We don’t want to be that, right? So then let’s think about encourage. You can actually give courage to somebody. Just think about the power of that. Let’s be known for that.”
What a great message. And while he has plenty of them, he has just as many helpful, educational, tutorial videos.
- Anyone need to know how to unclog a sink? Watch Kenney show you how here.
- Think it might be helpful to know how to jump start a car? Kenney can explain that to you here.
- What about checking the air pressure in your tires? He’s got that for you here, too.
- People of all ages can forget how to tie a tie. Not with Kenney’s help here.
- Need some encouragement on how to be good to yourself? Kenney’s got your back.
Kenney has so much great advice, and while it’s clear his viewers appreciate him, it’s also clear that Kenney appreciates his subscribers and viewers.
“I love the community of kindness and encouragement you all have built. It inspires me!” Kenney wrote. “I started out simply enough and thought I was going to help a few people. It’s turned into way more than that.”
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Kenney recently updated his viewers to announce that he will start to monetize his channel.
“I didn’t start this to make money, but now I’m seeing that there’s a way I can give back through that, and so we’re going to be partnering with a couple international organizations to give back,” Kenney said.
Just more good coming out of one dad.