The actor and his wife Camila Alves McConaughey have three children: Levi, 11, Vida, 10, and Livingston, 7. The couple recently sat down for an interview with Town & Country magazine.
"Sometimes loving your kids means giving them just what they want," Matthew McConaughey said. "Other times it means tough love."
"Affluent people can give their kids everything they want, but they’re not usually going to get what they need," the actor continued. "Loving a child is a lot harder if you really give a damn. 'No' takes a lot more energy. It’s a lot easier to say 'yes.'"
He also admitted that he is "more consistently the yes guy" with his kids compared to his wife.
The couple discussed their Just Keep Livin' foundation for Town & Country's Philanthropy Edition. The inspiration behind the nonprofit was the birth of their eldest child, Levi.
The idea came over baby photos, with Alves McConaughey sharing, "When we found out that the person was going to make over a million dollars on a photo, we were like, 'No. We’re going to do an exclusive and get the money and put it into the foundation.'"
The Just Keep Livin' foundation became a lifeline for thousands of children during the onset of COVID-19. The charity, which serves over 3,000 high school students across six states, assisted teens in securing meals and obtaining equipment needed to learn from home once schools began closing down.
Prior to the pandemic, Just Keep Livin' helped students stay active and mentally focused with its four-hours-a-week program, such as providing yoga classes to weekend service projects.
The "Dallas Buyers Club" actor said the reason he focused his program on physical activity and eating well was due to his belief in the "science behind how exercise and nutrition can help your mental acuity, and how that helps kids in our age group."
He added that the program helps teens blow off steam, which results in higher grades and better behavior.
The foundation proved successful, with McConaughey explaining that every senior that was a part of the program last year graduated from high school. Not only that, "it’s a one-way ticket to the Ivy League!" he said.
He also added how transformative the program is: "We end up getting really exceptional kids—some who were already doing OK but then really excelled, others who were on the wrong path and do complete turnarounds. They’ll become valedictorian, get a scholarship, graduate, and land a great job."