Doctor Asks Terminally Ill Kids What Really Matters In Life — Here Are Their Answers

Children can often be incredibly wise beyond their years.

Dr. Alastair McAlpine saw negativity in the world wherever he turned, so he decided to tweet some of the wisdom he’d learned from his terminally ill patients. These kids were all between the ages of 4 and 9, but they still managed to pinpoint exactly what made life worth living for them — and their answers might surprise you.

As a palliative care physician in Cape Town, South Africa, Dr. McAlpine eases the pain of children who are dying. The medicine he practices is not intended to cure their ailments, but rather to make them comfortable and provide the most joyful, dignified death possible for them.

His thread about this informal survey of what really matters (and what doesn’t matter) in life went viral online, and with good reason. These kids’ replies are as heartbreaking as they are wise, and we could all learn a thing or two about the simple pleasures that make life worth living.

As much as we all agree that “the little things” make life glorious, it’s incredible to hear these thoughts conveyed by children nearing the end of their time here. Let’s all use this wisdom as a reminder to devote ourselves to our families with all of our hearts because, in the end, the love we give and receive is all that really matters.

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