Seattle's Child

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Rob Kenny, from 'Dad, how do I?' offers help and wisdom to dads and others.

The local dad behind YouTube phenom ‘Dad, how do I?’

Rob Kenney teaches more than DIY

Rob Kenney didn’t set out to become “the Internet’s Dad” four years ago. But he’s certainly adopted the role with enthusiasm—and humility. 

“It was totally unexpected. I don’t even know how many followers I have at this point,” Kenney, who lives in Kent, said in a recent interview. He has 4.8 million subscribers on YouTube. “I’m an introvert, but I think I’m doing something positive, so I just power through it.”

Kenney, the father of two grown children, didn’t have a perfect childhood. His dad left when Kenney was 14 years old, and though Kenney no longer harbors bitterness—something he talks about emphatically—the experience motivates him. His “Dadvice on everyday tasks” helps other dads, youth, and those whose dads are no in the picture for whatever reason.

With Father’s Day approaching, I ask the dad behind the hugely popular YouTube channel ‘Dad, how do I?’ how he does it and why. Each video on the channel tackles a topic and either how to do it or how to approach it. How do you change a tire? Ask Kenney. First shave? He’s got you covered.

Four years of how-to-do-it videos

Kenney’s most popular videos, like “How to Tie a Tie” and “How to Fix a Running Toilet,” have millions of views. But within the slate of friendly tutorials—he addresses viewers with a welcoming “Hey kids!” in most—you’ll also find frank advice on things like money management, building a community, and more. Kenney understands that fatherhood isn’t just about fixing a leaky faucet.

“I didn’t want to get pigeonholed into just doing ‘how-to’ videos, because there’s so much more to being a dad than that,” he says. He’s particularly keen about Wisdom Wednesdays, a series he started two years after Dad, howDoI took off. 

“The cool thing about my platform is that I can do so many different things. I do stuff inside the house, outside the house, I work on the car, I do money talks,” he says. And, of course, Kenney adds, “I tell Dad jokes!”

Dad how do I

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO: The ‘Internet’s Dad’ gives a step-by-step tutorial on how to tie a tie.

What advice does this dad live by?

“There is a saying: ‘Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’ that really resonates with me. I waited for my own father to ask forgiveness of me for a long time, but I finally realized that it was more powerful for me to forgive him. There are many layers to forgiveness, but it is so freeing.”

Kenney also recognizes the importance of keeping an open mind no matter what he does, especially in the echo chambers of social media. 

“I often start Wisdom Wednesdays with a quote, and I’ve had people say, ‘I hate that guy!’ But if we’re only looking for quotes from perfect people, there’d be no quotes. You need to grab wisdom where you can. I’ve met plenty of people in my life who have said something profound. And I may not want to emulate their life, but there’s wisdom to be had even from people we disagree with.”

 

Dad how do i

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE VIDEO: Rob Kenney, inspired with his Wisdom Wednesday videos on the YouTube channel ‘Dad, how do I?’

What’s coming up for DadHowDoI?

“There’s a never-ending stream of material,” said Kenney, “And I can actually revisit some older videos. For example, the brake light just went out in my van. I did ‘How to Replace a Brake Light’ about a year ago on my other car, and now I am going to show how to do it on the van.” 

Kenney’s videos garner hundreds of comments. Some marvel at the simplicity: “I didn’t even know this was something you could do yourself!” Other comments show how Kenney’s videos have tapped into something meaningful.

“When my Dad was living, he did everything. Now I can do this because of you, Dad.” 

Yes, his fans just call him “Dad.”

Golly, I miss my Dad. Thank you for channeling him. He loved to help me and teach me all sorts of stuff.” 

Dad how do i

CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO: ‘Dad, how do I?’ explains how to change a brake light.

What does this dad do for Father’s Day?

In a world of cultivated personas, Kenney’s openness and simplicity sets him apart. And he doesn’t have many wants for Father’s Day.

“We’ve had a lot of stuff happen recently that has had to take precedence,” he explained. A loss in the family, a wedding. Life’s complications. “I was asked this question last year on the Today Show, and I’ll say the same thing. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten simpler. I don’t need gifts. If my kid took me out to lunch just to spend time together, that’s what I’d want.”

OK, kids. You heard it straight from the Internet’s Dad. For Father’s Day, forget the gifts. Take your Dad out to lunch.   

dad how do i

Read more:

Father’s Day fun: How to celebrate Dad in and around Seattle

About the Author

Elizabeth Hunter