Syracuse Online


Dr. J. on Running

Father's Day

Quality Time on the Run

Published June 18, 2001 in The Post-Standard.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

One day last week, my wife addressed the breakfast club with a firm voice. "OK, kids," she declared. "It is time to write your Father's Day column." Her suggestion met with blank stares. She stopped everyone in their tracks, except me. I quickly grabbed the July issue of a running magazine and commented about the intern on the cover.

My youngest suggested that running with dad was a good thing to do. I read the table of contents with keen interest. My oldest agreed with the theme. My middle child mumbled something about getting ready for school. My wife found a sheet of paper and pen, and declared that each person would contribute one reason why they liked running with their dad. I trembled in my running shoes, and wished my coffee cup were full again.

"Well," said the first. "If you run with dad, you get to spend time together, away from the distractions of work and home. There is no phone ringing, no computer to compete with, and no chores to do. We talk and really spend quality time with him." I smiled and focused on the woman in the energy bar ad.

"Oh. I have one," chimed in the second. "When we go out with dad, he protects us from the dogs, so we don't get attacked. That's a good thing about running with dad. Well," she added. "as long as we stay together." Am I a bigger threat or a slower target? I wondered as I read the shoe reviews.

"OK, " motioned my wife to the third child. "Let's hear your reason. Why do you like running with your dad?"

"You know," came the reply, "I like to run with dad because we can talk about computers and advances in chip fabrication and all the fun stuff for which he has no time when we are actually working at the computer. It is our time to talk technology."

There seemed to be a recurring theme, but I kept my eyes glued to the magazine. How many times had I seen that belly-piercing?

"Let me see if I have everyone's opinion right," chirped my wife. "You like to run with your dad because it gives you time to talk to him without distractions, even if it is to talk about computers. He protects you, but as long as you run together, which happens if you all run at the same pace. You can talk to him about anything you want to talk about, and he has no choice but to listen since you have become the faster runners. You kids are brilliant. More kids should run with their dads, right?"

I could not keep silent any longer, so I spoke. "We have come a long way, and have made great strides." I have no idea what I meant, but they all listened, which, after all, is all I wanted for Father's Day.

Kamal Jabbour can still keep up with his children, as long as they do the talking. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. Dr.J. created, webcasting live Every Lap of Every Race. He receives email at

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