Get to the choppa!
Come with me if you want to live!
I’ll be back!
These are quotes we hear almost daily in our house, because Sarah is an absolute devotee of bodybuilder-turned-actor-turned-governor-turned-activist Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that’s why we’re talking about Ah-nold as part of the iHomeschool Network’s celebration of July birthdays.
All about Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947, in Thal, Austria.
He served mandatory military service in Austria after he finished school, following in the footsteps of his father, who was a local chief of police and who had served in World War II. In the Austrian army, Schwarzenegger drove a tank, and in fact he today owns the exact model of the tank he drove in the Army.
Most interestingly in his early life, Arnold first played soccer and then started weight-training in his early teens, which would later lead to a career in bodybuilding that would net him 7 Mr. Olympia titles and 4 Mr. Universe titles. It was bodybuilding that allowed Schwarzenegger to fulfill his dream of coming to America. “The Mr. Universe title was my ticket to America – the land of opportunity, where I could become a star and get rich,” he is quoted as saying.
Schwarzenegger did move to America in 1968, when he was 21, despite speaking little English at the time. He started training at Gold’s Gym, the chain where he still trains today. Eventually, in 1983, he became a naturalized American citizen.
While training and competing, Arnold had a goal to move into acting. His first movie, Hercules in New York, was pretty much a bomb, and his lines had to be dubbed later because his accent was so thick. He was credited as Arnold Strong because no one thought “Schwarzenegger” was a pronouncable name in America. “It was very difficult for me in the beginning – I was told by agents and casting people that my body was ‘too weird’, that I had a funny accent, and that my name was too long. You name it, and they told me I had to change it. Basically, everywhere I turned, I was told that I had no chance,” he said.
Obviously, Arnold proved those people wrong. He got his big break starring in Conan The Barbarian in 1982, and in 1984 began what would be a 30-year run as a cyborg from the future, from 1984’s The Terminator to 2015’s Terminator: Genesys, made after he came out of retirement from acting.
Interestingly, Schwarzenegger was a millionaire even before his movie career took off, thanks to several entrepreneurial ventures like a brick-laying company, a mail-order bodybuilding equipment business and other projects.
In 2003, after working in politics in positions such as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under President George H.W. Bush, Schwarzenegger announced that he was running for governor of California as a Republican, and was re-elected in 2006. Many people have even asked him about whether he’d ever consider pursuing the presidency, a role he cannot currently hold as a non-U.S.-born citizen.
Personally, Schwarzenegger is known for marrying Maria Shriver, the niece of John F. Kennedy and daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in 1986, then later separating from her in 2011 after news of his having an affair and a child outside their marriage became known. Schwarzenegger and Shriver have four children together, in addition to his other son.
Since leaving the governorship, Arnold has been busy with activism in a variety of environmental and health causes. He’s sold Come With Me If You Want to Lift T-shirts and other items to support the After School All Stars program, he’s volunteered extensively with the Special Olympics, and he’s continued a trend of environmentalism that he began during his terms as governor.
In addition to all his other awards, Arnold has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Arnold and our family
As we worked together on this post, Sarah wanted me to particularly note that it is Arnold’s influence that has motivated her to start her own workout program.
She was already doing dumbbell weight lifting, situps and pushups on her own, and a couple of months ago we all joined the gym together to build on that.
“He always makes time to work out no matter how busy he is, or where he is,” Sarah said, “and I think that’s kind of what motivated me. It’s that point of mind that he has… I kind of wanted to get that point of mind.”
Read more about Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Arnold Schwarzenegger on IMDB
- Arnold Schwarzenegger on Twitter
- Arnold Schwarzenegger on Facebook
- Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wikipedia
- Official Arnold Schwarzenegger website
- Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, “Total Recall” – Just a plug for this: This is a HUGE book. Sarah read it from cover to cover. Sarah slept with it. Sarah carried it around with her even though her hardcover edition weighs, like, a third of her body weight or something. It basically WAS Arnold weight-lifting training. (Also, Sarah basically memorized it.) Maybe your family isn’t into Arnold, and that’s cool. But if you find the person your kids ARE into, you cannot understate the value of learning from biographies!
Movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
As we talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movies, it’s probably a good time for me to remind new readers that our daughter, Sarah, is in her later teen years, and we’re very open about watching movies together and talking about them as a family. These are not recommendations for all ages, nor are the ones for older teens even something I’d suggest sending your 17-year-old off to watch alone. But there are also some fun picks for everyone!
- Kindergarten Cop: This is Arnold’s favorite of his own movies and one of our favorites too! It’s funny – but there are some stressful parts, so I would not suggest this for any small children.
- Jingle All the Way: Arnold. And Christmas. And comedy. How much better could it get? This one is pretty unobjectionable to all ages.
- Last Action Hero: Another that’s appropriate for most ages.
- Twins: This is another comedy, but it’s more appropriate for adults.
- The Terminator series: Definitely less appropriate for younger viewers, but a TON of great stuff to talk about in this series.
- End of Days: This is one of Sarah’s favorite Arnold movies, but definitely targeted toward an older audience. It’s a bit of a horror mystery.
- Eraser: Sarah likes the plot twist in this; it’s also definitely for older audiences.
- Total Recall: This sci-fi/fantasy movie has a lot of violence with what Sarah says “is really a pretty interesting story.”
- True Lies: A super-funny Arnold movie that involves him doing the tango. How could you pass that up?
- The Running Man: This is definitely a dark one, and we are not recommending it to kids of any age. It’s an adaptation of a Stephen King short story. If you have older teens who can appreciate the comparison, there is a lot to talk about here, but it’s DEFINITELY not for everyone.
- Hercules in New York: Sarah says, “Don’t watch this one. It’s really terrible. Really funny, but really terrible.”
Ideas for discussion
- How do you feel about environmental issues? Arnold Schwarzenegger is noted for taking a stand on issues such as not eating meat and climate change. What are your thoughts on environmental issues? Do your everyday choices match up to your personal values or your family’s values in this area?
- Don’t have a Plan B: One of the biggest pieces of advice Sarah gleaned from reading Arnold’s autobiography was his controversial admonition to “Never have a Plan B.” Having a Plan B, he says, implies that you think your Plan A won’t work, so you don’t go out of your way to make it work. If you know it’s your only option, you make it happen. That definitely flies in the face of conventional wisdom. What do you think of it?
- Making time for fitness: Another thing that has really impressed Sarah about Arnold is his commitment to fitness. No matter where he is, he makes time to ride a bike, take a hike, go to the gym, or do some other activity. Sarah’s trying to live out that same commitment, but it’s definitely a lifestyle adjustment. What do you think about being “too busy” to work out or eat right?
Join the birthday party
If you’re interested, there are many more cool “July birthday” lessons from my fellow iHomeschool Network bloggers. Click the image below to check them out!