Matthew McConaughey’s Kids: He Dreamt of 88

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Greenlights" by Matthew McConaughey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Did Matthew McConaughey always want kids? How did he know he was always meant to be a father?

Matthew McConaughey knew he wanted kids, but he spent much of his life as a bachelor. After an inspiring dream, McConaughey knew he had a greenlight to start thinking about his other dream.

Read more about Matthew McConaughey, his dream to have kids, and how he started his family.

Learning the Secret of Genius

Matthew had decided to turn the page on his life by buying a house where he might be able to raise a family. Now he just had to figure out what his life’s next chapter would be about. Little did he know that he would soon meet the woman of his dreams, get married, become a father, and leave Hollywood to return to his home state of Texas.

This period of his life brought home the following lessons and insights:

  • In human relationships, both distance and nearness are important. Too much closeness to most people would wear us out; we need our space from them. But there are other people who look better to us the closer we get to them, such as our children, spouse, and best friends. These close relationships can be painful and costly, but they’re the most deeply rewarding.
  • We can also experience both distance and nearness in relationship to ourselves—self-distance when we act inauthentic, self-closeness when we remain true to who we are.
  • Sometimes we need to stop trying to make things happen and simply let them happen. Our souls are magnetic. They attract what we want and need. Instead of the arrow seeking the target, the target draws the arrow.
  • The secret of genius is twofold: Do one thing at a time, and don’t try to be all things to all people.

Matthew McConaughey’s Dream of the 88 Kids

Almost as if on schedule, as if designed to signal yet another life transition and another vision to be pursued, Matthew had another non-sexual wet dream. This one was different from the first two. In it, he was an 88-year-old man sitting on the front porch of a country home and being visited by 22 young women. Each brought with her four children. He recognized these were women he had loved and children he had fathered, one child for each year of his life.

When he woke up, he realized that his lifelong desire to be a father and his fear of dying a bachelor—the latter of which had lately been looming as a major red light—were both okay. For Matthew McConaughey, kids were the next big dream. Whether or not he ever met and married the woman of his dreams, he could still know love and father children. The fearsome red light of lifelong bachelorhood had now become a green light through the impact of that dream, freeing him to surrender and let a long-term relationship with the right woman simply find him, or not.

Matthew McConaughey’s Kids: He Dreamt of 88

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Matthew McConaughey's "Greenlights" at Shortform .

Here's what you'll find in our full Greenlights summary :

  • How "greenlights" help you confirm if you're on the right path
  • How McConaughey switched college choices because of family finances
  • Why family is at the center of everything for McConaughey, no matter what's happening in his career

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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