They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If there’s ever been a story of victory over breaking generational chains, and “making lemonade” from sour lemons, it’s Rob Kenney.
The father of two was just 12 years old when his father walked out on their family. One of eight kids, Rob found himself living with his older brother when he was 14. He was forced to navigate his teen years and adulthood without a loving father figure to show him the ropes.
Now that his kids are grown, Rob has turned to YouTube to share the fatherly wisdom and life skills he had to learn on his own.
On his channel, “Dad, How Do I?”, he shares practical “dadvice” for every day tasks. Things that everyday people might ask their own dad, like how to unclog a sink, how to change a tire, or how to properly tie a tie. And you better believe he’s got his fair share of dad jokes to boot!
The videos were something Rob said he’s always wanted to do — share important lessons that aren’t taught in high school — but he never could find the time. When the coronavirus pandemic forced the world to stay home for a while, he finally took the plunge.
With the help of his 27-year-old daughter, Kristine, who calls him with questions on “adulting” all the time, Rob’s weekly “how-to” videos have quickly grown in popularity.
“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 told Shattered Magazine. “… 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.”
Rob had always wanted to leave a legacy—particularly for those who struggle with a broken home or absent parent. Having broken the pattern of generational chains in his own life, he wanted to be there for others in his shoes.
“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.”
After his parents divorced, Rob says his father won the raging custody battle, but was “done” with having kids.
“He got custody of us, but he didn’t really want us,” Rob said.
Years later, while his wife was pregnant with their daughter, Rob says everything was falling apart. He had lost his job, and all of his plans had failed.
Having a very skewed perception of the Lord from his time with his mom, Rob had never developed a relationship with God. But when things all came crashing down around him, he turned to Jesus.
“I cried out to God and said, ‘Lord, if You solve this, if You get me out of the mess I’ve made for myself, I’ll search You out and try to understand whatever I can about You.’ And dang it if He didn’t come through. He called my bluff.”
Rob began reading the Bible for himself and discovered the Truth about our Savior.
“I can know that I’m going to Heaven because of what He did,” Rob said. “Jesus is the hero of the story.”
As a result, he was even able to forgive his father. And when he died in his 80’s, the two had reconciled.
“I know how much God has forgiven me,” Rob said. “How can I hold something against somebody else?”
Rob’s story is a testament to God’s incredible grace, and a driving force for serving others.
Although his goal in starting the YouTube channel was to pay it forward and share his knowledge with others, Rob says he’s received so much in return.
“Some of the emotional responses I’ve gotten from people who don’t have fathers, or didn’t have a relationship with their father, or have lost their father, you know, and they’ve said they watched my videos in tears, just being reminded of missing their dad. It’s amazing.”
Check out all of Rob’s videos on YouTube, and be sure to follow him on Facebook.