April 10, 2014 at 11:45 AM ET
On the big screen, Goldie Hawn has a reputation for playing the always-bubbly blonde, and it's a role she plays in real life too. High energy and happiness are just facts of life for the actress.
"I can't imagine losing my joy," she explained during a Thursday morning visit to TODAY. "I think it's a God-given thing. I felt it when I was 11. I was aware of being happy, and I never wanted to lose that."
And she believes she knows the secret to keeping it.
"I think it has to do with the intention of wanting to keep it, 'cause we can," she said. "It's how we look at things. You have fun; you enjoy it; it feels good. So why would you want to lose it? It's an act of will."
It's also something that she's handed down to her children.
The older kids (Kate and Oliver Hudson) are amazing," Hawn said. "They're unbelievable parents. ... Kurt (Russell) and I are so proud. They're mirroring a lot of the way they were raised, and that just shows you how important it is to raise your kids well, 'cause they will raise their kids well."
But life isn't all joy for Hawn. The actress was deeply moved by the recent school stabbing in Pennsylvania, telling TODAY's Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford that it leaves her fearing for the "emotional literacy" of children today.
School tragedies like that are part of what inspired her to start The Hawn Foundation, a non-profit group that works globally to help children succeed in school and beyond.
See what else the actress had to say about her foundation and her career in the clips.