For those of us who never learned how to unclog a drain or tie a tie, Rob Kenney has all the answers.
Do you ever miss being a kid? Some of our biggest problems were whether or not we had the right crayon colors to draw an elaborate landscape, if our mom had put our favorite chips in our lunch bag, or if we’d be allowed to have a sleepover next weekend. Then, one day, we realize we’ve grown up.
At the risk of sounding like every Millennial ever, adulting is hard work. We’re suddenly thrust into the real world, despite still feeling like kids inside. We live on our own for the first time, and have a rude awakening when we see how much work it takes simply to keep up a living space. We have to budget ourselves and not give in to every frivolous desire, instead of having a guardian say no or give us a monthly allowance. We’re left to make meals on our own, rather than having them served to us.
It’s incredibly common to feel overwhelmed with all that being an adult entails. We’ve all had moments of feeling ill-informed when trying to hang a piece of art, install a shelf, or change our oil. Enter: YouTube’s new dad, Rob Kenney, who’s helping us fill in our knowledge gaps with his weekly how-to videos.
How He’s Been Helping Us All
Rob Kenney, better known as the host of “Dad, How Do I?” on YouTube, uploaded his first how-to video a year ago, where he taught us all how to tie a tie. Since then, he’s garnered close to 3.5 million followers, making it clear that he’s fulfilling a need that millions of us have.
A quick scroll through the comments on any of his posts boasts countless “thank you” comments, and even notes that gush “you’re like the dad I never had.” Each video, complete with dad jokes and anecdotes from his life, offers viewers a step-by-step breakdown of things like how to replace a refrigerator filter, how to install a ceiling fan, or how to wrap a present – skills we might’ve missed growing up and could be embarrassed to ask for help with.
It’s heartwarming to witness so many uninformed individuals communing in the comments on his videos, bonding over shared gaps of knowledge, excitedly declaring they’ve learnt something new. But it also highlights the fact that we aren’t getting the life training we need as we grow up.
None of Us Know How To Adult
If I’m being honest, I didn’t really know how to make pasta until a couple years ago. I sorta kinda know how to start a fire. I only recently discovered how to fix a running toilet. Needless to say, while I know how to do some basic adult things, I don’t know how to fully adult. And if Rob Kenney’s channel is any indication, I’m not alone in my lack of adult knowledge.
It’s clear that, in a culture that’s obsessed with complaining about how hard it is to adult, we don’t actually know how to adult. Whereas generations before us took Home Ec classes in high school, learning the basics of keeping house, budgeting, and cooking, younger generations weren’t given the same education, and it’s showing.
To think of teaching home skills as worthless is to deny the importance of being a well-rounded adult.
Still, Home Ec classes are being done away with in our school system, with much of our education being focused more closely on developing “marketable” skills to give us a fighting chance in an increasingly career-driven society. We place higher value in skills that make us professionally worthwhile rather than personally proficient, thinking of teaching young students home skills as inherently sexist and useless to our growth and purpose.
But in reality, these home skills that Rob Kenney is teaching millions on YouTube are far more useful skills for everyone to learn, because they’re inevitably part of our life, no matter our vocation. Whereas not every single one of us actually needs Algebra III, we all undoubtedly need to know how to iron a dress shirt, jump start a car, and bake a pumpkin pie. To think of teaching home skills as old-fashioned or worthless is to deny the importance and reality of being a well-rounded adult.
High test scores, grand achievements, and hefty incomes are considered more worthy pursuits today, but it’s clear that basic life skills like how to function in the kitchen, change filters, and fix a button are also crucial skills for any well-rounded adult to possess – otherwise, Rob Kenney wouldn’t have an audience.
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