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"Dad, How Do I?" - Why It Matters Who Our Children Turn to For Answers In Life.

Rob Kenney of "Dad, How Do I?" YouTube Channel
Rob Kenney of "Dad, How Do I?" YouTube Channel

In this article:

His father left the family when he was 12, and his mother was an alcoholic. As a consequence, he had a rough childhood. So growing up, he was forced to learn things on his own. He and his seven siblings longed to have someone to teach them basic survival skills.

Rob Kenney giving fatherly advice on YouTube

His name is Rob Kenney, and you may recognize him from YouTube with over 1.8 million subscribers.

Now a father himself, he has started a YouTube channel called "Dad, How Do I?" where he teaches basic skills, like tying a tie, fixing a toilet, and changing a tire. Things that every young child would learn growing up with a father.

"My goal in life was to raise good adults—not good children but good adults—because I had a fractured childhood," Kenney said. One Twitter user commented, "I don't miss my dad, but I miss the dad I could have had… the dad who did this stuff with me."

Now, Kenney, known as the "Internet Dad" among his numerous followers, has an extended family of all ages.

The truth is, we cannot ignore the influence of a father. Everything that we do as a father and husband matters. It matters to our wives, our children, and God. Our children will always ask, "Dad, how do I?" And who they turn to to find those answers depends on whether we are there or not. And the answers they find will affect our children's decisions.

In the Bible, King David is at the end of his life. And before he dies, he leaves behind instructions to his son, Solomon, as he is about to inherit the kingdom of Israel. He needed answers to a crucial "Dad, how do I?" moment in his life. And whether Solomon decided to follow his father's instructions or not would determine his destiny.

We can read about it in 1 Kings 2:1-4, "Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: "I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'"

Just like David to Solomon, fathers must point their children to the Heavenly Father.

The Fathers Influence

No doubt, fathers impact their children. When fathers are actively involved with their children, children do better in life. And research proves it:

Kids who grow up with a father are less likely to drop out of school than children with no male caretakers or role models. In addition, when children have close relationships with father figures, they tend to avoid high-risk behaviors, and they're less likely to have sex at a young age. In addition, they endure fewer psychological problems throughout their lives when dads take the role of a father seriously. Altogether, these benefits of having an engaged dad are called the "father effect."

While that is all true, there is still a father absence crisis in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.3 million children, 1 in 4, live without a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home.

Consequently, there is a fatherless factor in nearly all social troubles facing America today.

A Fathers Influence on Daughters

There is a "father effect," especially in the lives of daughters. The "father effect" is the umbrella term for the benefits of a father's presence, explains Joshua A. Krisch, a Science writer for

...She grew up with a dad who was physically present but emotionally absent.

Fathers have a positive influence on their daughter's self-esteem, how she sees or feels about herself. In addition, a father's presence will help who they choose their future husband, what they look for in a man, and their standards. Finally, the presence of a father will influence daughters to make better choices in life.

However, when a daughter lacks a father, the opposite is true: Fatherless daughters have low self-esteem, are insecure, have no sense of worth, and often lack confidence. They get involved in relationships at an earlier age, looking for a father figure in other men. Fatherless girls will also carry with their hatred and bitterness into these relationships.

Author Ms. Meyers wrote how she grew up with a dad who was physically present but emotionally absent. She says she numbed her pain with food and anti-depressants.

Fathers provide their daughters with a masculine example. They teach their children about respect and boundaries and help put daughters at ease with other men throughout their lives. So if a daughter didn't grow up with a good example, she will have less insight and be more likely to go for a man to replicate her father's abandonment.

A Father Influence on Sons

Like daughters, sons also experience a "father effect."

Sons are taught how to be a man, carry responsibility, work, get their hands dirty from the father. These qualities are essential, so young men have the confidence and the respect they desire in life. As a result, statistics show they are more likely to have a stable life, have a better-paying job. It's through fathers where sons are taught how to treat a woman.

However, when a son lacks a father, the outcomes turn for the worse. Young men grow up weaker or over abusive due to being unstable emotionally. Often, fatherless sons can't keep a job or know what they want in life. Some lack drive, are lazy, lack dominion, and run away from responsibility. Many look to gangs for that male figure and leadership.

On the other hand, some kids have a father presence but still make bad decisions. So having a father is not a one-size-fits-all solution. But the point is that a father has a big influence on his children. So you being a father to our children matters.

The Duty of a Father

King David not only left Solomon a kingdom, but he also left him an example for Solomon to follow. He left him with standards, morals, and having a relationship with God.

"And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses," David says in 1 Kings 2:3

This is who David was. The Bible describes him as "a man after God's own heart." He left behind who he followed, what he believed. It's not enough to leave behind a will, a business, or a house to our children. When we lead them to God, we leave them with God's favor & blessing. We leave them with an example of how a man of God should live.

Solomon didn't have an excuse. And the same must be said of us as fathers. What we must leave behind is not an excuse but am an example for our children to follow. As Proverbs 20:7 puts it, "The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him."

So, fathers, our spiritual walk with God matters. Our children see how you serve God. They know whether it is genuine. They know whether or not you fear God, trust God. It'll affect their view of God. Often, it affects their decision to want to live for God. They will know in times of difficulty, they can trust in Him.

The prodigal son returning to his fathers house.

We see this in the Bible when the prodigal son wasted his inheritance; the Bible says he remembered his father's house. Luke 15:18 says, "I will arise and go to my father and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,"

Our decision to live for God may one day be our children's saving grace. The prodigal son understood not only his mistake with his father but his heart with God. And so, the opposite is true. If your children know you don't judge what is right and wrong in your home when there's no discipline, then the chances of doing right are slim.

The Bible shows the effects of this through the prophet Eli and his sons in 1 Samuel 3:12,13. Eli's sons saw their father not fear God, not have any convictions, any rules. So what did that create? It caused them to continue/do whatever they wanted. Our job as fathers is not to be the cool dad, their "bro," sin with their sin, and cover it up. We are there to be their spiritual leader, an example for them, their protector from the strategies of hell.

"If you can't get dominion over your habits and sins, how will your children know how?..."

But this has to do with the father's private life because you can't pass down what you are not. Your actions, habits, the things you still allow yourself to do will pass down to your children. Some men, fathers, don't want to be responsible. They don't want to grow up. So they give in to their sensual side, their flesh. Whether it's pornography, lust, drugs, bad habits, whatever it is, you are passing that down to your children.

Bible warns us of the consequences of the father's sins in Exodus 34:7, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation." When your children become teenagers or adults, they will battle with the same sin, habits that you allowed to dominate your life, what you have refused to break free from and judge in your own life. One day they will ask, "Dad, how do I break free from..." "How do I not allow myself to do it?" "How do I stop?"

And if you can't get dominion over your habits and sins, how will your children know how? That's why God says it's a generational curse. You are passing something to your children. It's not just about you, your wants, and your pleasure. And if you don't get dominion, it will become your children's stronghold and battle.

Fathers in the home

The home is where your children see the real us, how we treat their mother, and our temper. They notice the time we give to them.

"Just watching television together, for example, isn't going to help much."

Joshua A. Krisch, Science Editor for, writes, "Of course, a father's active participation in the family is always preferable. "There needs to be a minimum amount of time spent together, but the quality of time is more important than the quantity of time" – "Just watching television together, for example, isn't going to help much."

So many want to compare them not having a father and thinking, hey, "I am home with them, I am here!" There is a difference between dads being present and dads being engaged. And most of the men "fathers" here are present, but the question is, are you engaged?

"And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand..."

As mentioned earlier, writer Ms. Meyers shared how she grew up with a physically present dad but emotionally absent. She said this greatly affected her. It was as though she was by herself, battling her problems. "3 in 4 parents are unaware when their teens have recurrent thoughts about suicide." Today, homes are like solitary confinement. Everyone is in their rooms, no communication. Yet, we call it "privacy."

Mark 3:25 says, "And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."

Do you know what your children go through? Their struggles and thoughts. Are they comfortable going to you, or are they afraid of you getting mad and ragging out? See if the home isn't a safe place for them, and they can't ask, "Dad, how do I?" they will find answers somewhere else. And the world is going to offer them answers.

Ephesians 6:4 says, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." It's necessary to know what our kids, teenagers are going through. It's important to find out why they don't want to serve God. Ask why they act the way they do, why they have an attitude, or why they dress a certain way. You have to be an influence in their life.

David is on his final days, and he is reminding Solomon, "Hey, everything you saw me do, you must continue to do." On his last days, King David wasn't regretting, "Man, I should have spent more time with you, son." Fathers, if today was your final day on earth, what would you need more time for? Will your children know how to live for God by what you showed them at home?

Fire fighter graduate whose father died in the 9/11 attacks is congratulated

An article about children of 9/11 firefighters following in their father's footsteps perfectly illustrates the power of a father's influence on his children. The current graduating class of the New York City Fire Department includes 19 men and one woman whose fathers died in the 9/11 attacks. They are called "legacy" graduates, and it's the most of any class in FDNY history.

They wanted to do what their fathers gave their lives for. One graduate said, "I'm making my dad proud. Our fathers are watching over us today, and that's a fact."

See, what you give your life to, will greatly influence what your children want to become or do in life. What would that be for your children? Is it sin, habit, success, or is it to serve God?

Being a Role Model Father

The Bible tells us that there is a special covering over our children when raised in a godly home. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."

The scripture doesn't mean having a father will ensure children will never make bad decisions in life. But, it does mean that if they rebel and veer off the right path, as the scripture says, they will not depart from it for too long.

"that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, 'If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,' He said, 'you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.'" God's promise of blessing and favor depended upon Solomons obedience to following God. You see, guiding our children is not us protecting them all the time and always securing their life. The greatest safeguard we can give your child in life is showing them how to find and follow the will of God.

Your kids will know how to live successfully not so much by what you say but by how you live and respond to life. And when your children encounter obstacles and ask themselves, "Dad, how do I?" Then, they will look back and remember what you did.

1 Chronicles 28:9 says, "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you;."

There's also a promise for those who grew up fatherless.

Psalm 27:10 When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me. For those who don't have a physical dad, God can give you a spiritual father.

When I starting going to church, I had a father. But my father taught me the wrong things and was in prison all my life. And where I am today is not from my physical father, but my spiritual father, my pastor & other men in the church.

The Bible talks about Timothy and how his mom & grandmother raised him. Yet, the apostle Paul took Timothy in and called him his son. Even though he was a young man, Timothy learned how to lead a church from Paul. All that he became was because he allowed the apostle Paul to take him in.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, "For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me."

There's no excuse for fatherless mess as to why you can't become a man of God.

It was the prophet Elisha who left his family and followed Elijah, and his final wish to Elijah was, "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me." He didn't ask for his dad's savings, his dad's car, no he asked for Elijah's spirit. There was something in Elijah that Elisha wanted.

2 Kings 2:14 shows Elisha do the same miracle that he saw Elijah do, "Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over."

Elisha was able to see God move because he saw the power of God in Elijah. There is no excuse as to why you can't become a man of God. Fatherless men can learn from other men in the church. Find someone who will take you in and be a spiritual father in your life. A spiritual father can be your pastor. It's someone who will guide you to the will of God and look out for you.

See, young adult, teenager it matters where are you go for the questions of life. And fathers let's not only be present but engaged in our children's lives, leaving them an example to follow God.

Let's Make Change Together!

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