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Terminally-Ill Children Tell Us What Really Matters In Life

I, like millions of others, am anticipating that my heart will be broken on Sunday. It has nothing to do with the outcome of the SuperBowl and everything to do with this week’s upcoming episode of “This Is Us.” I know what’s coming. And I’ll watch it anyway.

I felt much the same way when I saw this tweet from Dr. Alastair McAlpine, a palliative paediatrician from Cape Town, South Africa. I knew the twitter thread was going to break my heart, and I read it anyway. Because man, kids are so freaking wise and sometimes? We could all use a reminder about what really matters in life.

What did Dr. McAlpine discover? First of all, none of the kids, aged four to nine, wished they had spent more time watching TV or on Facebook. None of them enjoyed the hospital or fighting with others.

What they did enjoy?

The kids also talked about their pets. So next time good old Rufus decides to puke on the carpet, just remember, pets make your life better. Okay, maybe not when you’re knee deep in vomit and cursing their very existence, but the rest of the time, they do.


The kids also love books, the beach, Batman, and laughing.

Kids love their toys, and their superheroes.

The most heart-wrenching insights? When the kids spoke about their families and friends. For the love, I can feel my heart breaking.

The irony is the one thing that is most important to these kids, is the one thing they’re running out of. Time with their families.

Dr.McAlpine ends his twitter thread with these words of wisdom:

To date, McAlpine’s tweets have been shared more than 67,000 times. According to his twitter handle he is a “Pediatrician, reader, ultra-distance runner, music-lover and amateur foodie. Humanist and sceptic. Dislikes pseudoscience. Occasionally funny. Really.”

Clearly he hasn’t let his recent rise to fame affect his sense of humour.¬†He¬†posted this tweet about not taking things too seriously.

I’m not sure if he’s feeling the whole “pets make life better” vibe right now. It could be why he says to “hug your dog” and not your cat.

Regardless, want a great life? Be kind, show love, spend time with your family, laugh, read, and eat the damn ice cream.