Families come in all shapes and sizes. Someone can grow up with two mothers, just one mother, or two fathers.
Or maybe they’re being raised by their grandparents since their family members are in the military. Single parents really have it rough, whether it’s a single mom or dad. While moms can often provide comfort and support, sometimes children ask their fathers serious questions about life. Especially little boys.
A new YouTube channel — called Dad, How Do I? — was created by a man named Rob. Rob’s father left him when he was just a young boy, and he ended up being raised by his older brother, who was a newlywed at the time.
Rob’s mother initially planned on raising a large family close to her hometown in Kansas, emulating the childhood she had growing up. She and her husband had eight children, but Rob’s dad insisted that they live elsewhere. It was a lot of pressure for the family, and his mother turned to alcohol.
“By the time I got to be 10, 11, 12, you could definitely tell there was some dysfunction going on,” Rob said in an interview with Shattered Magazine. “We used to have even boxes in our downstairs because my mom never really unpacked. I think my mom wanted to get back to Kansas. I think that really took a toll on her.”
Due to the alcohol abuse and a restraining order, Rob’s father technically got custody of the kids after a bitter divorce. But he was never around. According to Rob, he often bought groceries and then left for days on end. At that point, he seemed tired of his family, and exhausted by the idea of parenting.
Things got so tense that Rob’s father admitted he didn’t want them anymore. He even threatened to put his children in foster homes unless an older sibling stepped up. That, alone, is hard for anyone to deal with. There’s no worse feeling than thinking your parents don’t love you or want you around.
To try to help himself, Rob eased into religion. He also managed to finally forgive his father for not being there, once he fully became an adult. Soon after their reconciliation, his father passed away. The whole experience led Rob to form his own views about parenting. He wanted to one day be the father he never really had.
He went on to have two kids of his own — Kristine and Kyle. He’s incredibly proud of both of them. After taking on the role of being a dad, he learned how crucial it is to have an adult supporting your life journey. So he decided to pay it forward and start a YouTube channel for others.
The channel debuted on April 1 of this year, but it’s already developed a huge fan base. In the videos, Rob gives instructions to others who may have questions they’re unable to ask their own fathers. He covers topics from tying a tie to fixing a leaky toilet. Anyone can benefit from his lessons.
But it’s extremely nice to know that they’re made for those who might not have the best relationship with their own fathers. Some of these pieces of fatherly wisdom turn into preteen and teenage milestones. Many boys remember what it was like having their fathers teach them how to shave for the first time.
He also launched a Facebook page with a pretty funny intro. He explains his channel as “‘How To’ videos by a dad who has raised 2 adults (and we still talk).” He added that he’ll do his best to “provide useful, practical content to many basic tasks that everyone should know how to do.” He hopes to release one video every week.
His videos are important for many reasons. For one, they’re obviously a great resource for young people who want to learn how to tackle important life lessons. But he’s also a source of understanding. Rob gets that everyone’s childhood is a little different. He maintains a warm and casual composure in his tutorials, which makes them even better to watch.
His videos are also a reminder that regardless of the situation you were raised in, you have the power to rise up. Not all of us have had the best childhoods. But when we’re adults, we can take what we’ve learned and do something productive with it. Rob knew how it felt to not have a father figure around, so that inspired him to make a real difference online.
Stress and trauma are often tough to navigate through. But a creative project like this is a great way to move forward and turn the negatives into a positive experience. It might also be a little therapeutic. Rob’s videos have gotten a ton of views, and he’s obviously helped so many people already, with no plans to stop.
It’s also proof that those who had a rough childhood don’t need to have a rough life. While Rob was likely angry that both of his parents weren’t around when he needed them, he at least got the chance to make amends with his father. According to Shattered, his mother died in her late 50s, before he could mend that bridge.
“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.” And he did just that.
Having that goal could also be why this YouTube channel is a great outlet for him. He’s continuously teaching other kids online and helping them grow. Plus, these videos are also great resources for his own kids, in case they accidentally need to change a tire on the side of the road and their dad’s not physically around to help them out.
Rob is a great influence and a reminder that all of us can find unique ways to help our community grow. His videos are friendly and informative and created with such a genuine desire to help others. On May 20, his subscribers hit 1 million. And it’ll keep growing with time — especially if he keeps sprinkling dad jokes in his intros.