In conversations about parenthood, much of the discussion ends up focusing on the mother’s role in a child’s life, but fathers carry equal importance. Not only do they often teach their children many hard skills, like how to change a tire, throw a baseball, or tie a tie, but fathers also are critically important in the development of a child’s mental and emotional development. One man decided he wanted to do something to help all fatherless children, so he created a YouTube basic skills channel to help teach them basic life skills.
Sadly, there are many children who are missing this important relationship in their lives. In the United States, nearly twenty million children grow up without a dad, and for many it has a profound impact on who they become as adults .
YouTube Basic Skills – Dad, How Do I?
On his YouTube basic skills channel, Dad, How Do I? Rob Kenney shares what he calls practical “dadvice” for everyday tasks. His videos cover topics like checking the oil, checking your tire pressure, how to fix a running toilet, how to tie a tie, and how to iron a dress shirt .
Since its inception, however, his channel has grown into much more than just practical advice.
“I want it to be about everyday tasks, but I also would like to pass along some of the wisdom I’ve learned along the way to encourage people,” Rob said. “… I thought I was just going to be showing people how to do stuff, but it’s kind of resonating on a whole different level.”
A Tragic Backstory
Rob’s desire to help people who grew up without a father was born out of his own childhood experience. Although his family was initially what one might deem as “normal”, things began to go downhill as he reached his adolescent years. His mother developed an alcohol problem, and when Rob was just fourteen years old his father decided that he’d had enough of his children and left, leaving Rob’s older siblings to look after the family.
“He said, ‘You know, I’m done having kids. … You’re going to have to figure out where these kids are going because otherwise I’m putting them in foster homes,’”.
Rob now has two adult children of his own, who are both well on their way to having successful careers in their chosen fields.
“My goal in my life was to raise good adults,” Rob said. “I never wanted to be wealthy. I never wanted to be necessarily successful. My goal in life was to raise good adults — not good children but good adults — because I had a fractured childhood.”
The Importance of Dad
Throughout history, the role of the father has been often diminished, and parenting has often fallen on the mother’s shoulders alone. Throughout the twentieth century, however, there has been a radical shift in the way we view fathers, and a significant amount of research has gone into determining the effect a father has on his children.
A report published in “Fathers and their Impact on Children’s Wellbeing”, stated that children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and have better social connections as they get older .
Additional research has also been done comparing the impact of mothers and fathers, and the results have shown that the love or rejection of a mother or a father equally affects kids’ behavior, self-esteem, emotional stability, and mental health .
Ronald P. Rohner, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, said that sometimes, the father may even have a greater impact on the child than the mother.
“In some cases, the withdrawal of a father’s love seems to play a bigger role in kids’ problems with personality and psychological adjustment, delinquency, and substance abuse,” he explained .
Children often look to their fathers to provide a sense of physical and emotional security. Children often want their fathers to be proud of them, and an involved father can promote inner growth and strength.