Here's What Matthew McConaughey Taught Us This Year

From giving back to having fun at home, here are the most valuable lessons UT's Minister of Culture schooled us on in this pandemic year.

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Matthew McConaughey is a leading man in Hollywood, but at home in Texas, he's a family man, a proud mama's boy, and a whiskey-loving Longhorns diehard. The laidback star is the epitome of a Southern charmer with a sly smile, a positive attitude, and a willingness to go the extra mile to lend a helping hand. This year, the star has managed to have an "alright, alright, alright" time by connecting with fans, giving back to his community, hanging with his family, fundraising for good causes, and even releasing Greenlights, a new memoir where he reflects on his Hollywood days and his Southern upbringing. He also managed to have a lot of fun, a difficult feat, but an important act of self-care, especially during this tough year.

Here are a few things we learned from McConaughey this year:

Family matters

McConaughey may be a big Hollywood star, but he has down home Texas values and that means family first. Not only does he seem to adore his wife Camila (who he fell in love with at first sight!), but McConaughey moved to Texas to be closer to his mother, and is raising his three kids to keep their heads on straight. That love and support is reciprocated, too. When McConaughey released his memoir, his mother, Kay McConaughey, posted on Instagram that she was "One proud mamma!" and his wife Camila, added, "Words cannot express how proud I am of this work of love that Matthew did!!" That sort of support system can't be beat.

Stay true to your school

This year, stadiums across the South limited the number of people who could attend sporting events, to curb the spread of the coronavirus. That didn't stop McConaughey from serving in his role as "Minister of Culture" for the University of Texas football team. The school came up with a unique way to get him in the stands by filling the bleachers with life-size cutouts of the Oscar-winning UT alum in character from films like The Lincoln Lawyer, Dazed and Confused, The Wedding Planner, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. McConaughey was thrilled to be boosting for his alma mater. " I don't have many affiliations," McConaughey says in a video shared by UT. "I've got God, I've got my family, I got America, and I got Texas. This is one of those things that's nonnegotiable for me wherever I go." He has rooted for his school through wins, losses, and now a pandemic—that is what a true blue fan looks like.

Give back to your community

During this trying year, McConaughey has done his part to cheer people up. Not only did he try to motivate students at the University of Texas amid the pandemic with a special message, but he hosted virtual bingo night for a Texas senior home, donated 80,000 masks to frontline workers, and crashed a virtual meeting of 900 members of the staff at La Porte Independent School District in La Porte, Texas to cheer them on. "I'm a public school son. My mom taught in public schools for thirty-something years," McConaughey told the group. "What a valuable occupation y'all have. What you do as an educator, that's never going to go out of style." While we may not all have McConaughey's star power, we certainly can spread some joy in our communities.

Have some fun!

While 2020 certainly has given us all things to grieve, it also has allowed us time to reflect on our priorities. Life is short, so you may as well have a little fun while you're here. McConaughey certainly makes some time for fun in his life, whether by sharing some Southern slang, having an adorably dorky dance party with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show (while wearing a yellow caftan!), teasing his How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days co-star on Instagram, or launching a video series on Instagram dubbed "McConaughey Takes" sharing behind-the-scenes trivia from some of the films he's starred in.

Here's to another year of keeping us laughing, inspired, and trying to sway us to root for the Longhorns, Mr. McConaughey.

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