20 questions to ask your father on father's day - Al Arnold

Ep108: 20 Questions to Ask Your Father on Father’s Day Pt1 | with Al Arnold

It’s amazing how global pandemics, worldwide protesting and riots, and the general upheaval of society as we know it can make you think. It certainly helps to lend perspective on what’s really important in life and the choices we’ve made that led us to where we are right now at this moment.

One of the most important realizations I’ve had is that because of travel restrictions and both of my parents being in the highest risk category for the COVID virus, I have no way of seeing them in person again until there’s either a reliable vaccine or we reach herd immunity. At this point that could be months or even years.

For a long time now I’ve wanted to sit down and do an interview with my father to ask him the big questions about life that we seldom (if ever) really discuss. So for this Father’s Day, I decided it was time to prioritize this conversation, even if it meant having to suffer through the perils of recording on Zoom as opposed to chatting face-to-face.

This episode is a very special and personal one that I recorded for me, not for social media shares, not for search engine optimization, and not to grow an email list. This one is for me. But my hope is that listening to today’s conversation inspires you to reach out to your parents (if you’re fortunate enough they are still alive), or your siblings, or those who helped shape the person you are today so you can have an honest conversation just like this one.

This is the first of a 2 part interview where I’ve created a series of 20 specific questions I’m calling “20 Questions to Ask Your Father On Father’s Day” (which can of course be repurposed to suit your needs). These questions were inspired by a similar exercise from high performance coach Brendon Burchard in this Facebook post.

If you’d like to use the same 10 questions I asked in the first part of this interview, here they are:


  • When were you born, where, and what memories come to mind when you think about growing up as a young child?
  • What are the most formative memories or experiences you had as a child or dteenager that led you to the person you have become today?
  • What is the most important lesson you learned from your mom?
  • What is the most important lesson you learned from your dad?
  • If your parents were still alive today and could talk to my kids (their great-grandchildren), what would they want to share with them?


  • What path did you begin on in life when you first became an adult and why?
  • What career path (or paths) have you followed since then and why?
  • What do (did) you love the most about your career?
  • What makes you successful at what you do?
  • What do you believe about yourself that has help you endure difficult times, and what is the most difficult experience you remember teaching you this lesson?

Check out Part 2 of my interview with my dad, Al Arnold here →

Want to Hear More Episodes Like This One?

» Click here to subscribe and never miss another episode

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Arnold Reading Clinic

Parenting Resources for Creative Professionals

Ep48: Feeling Lost? It’s Time to ‘Find Your Why’ | with David Mead

Ep120: It’s Never Too Late to Get Stronger (and Become a Ninja) | with Ginny MacColl, ANW

Guest Bio:

al arnold photo

Al Arnold has been working with struggling readers for fifty years as an elementary classroom teacher, elementary principal, and instructor at the university graduate level in a program for certifying reading teachers and reading specialists.

He has always been engaged in studying the science of reading and struggling readers and applying it in his work. The elementary school where he was the principal received an award from the Education Trust in Washington D.C. for improvement in reading achievement.

In 2007 he established a reading clinic to implement and further refine the techniques and curriculum he has learned and developed to remediate struggling readers.

Arnold Reading Clinic

Arnold Reading Magic iPad App

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared by Zack Arnold and published by Glen McNiel.

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Like us on Facebook

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”