A pediatrician's viral post will bring you to tears and inspire you to be a better person.

Pediatrician Alastair McAlpine gave some of his terminal patients an assignment. What they told him can inspire us all.

"Kids can be so wise, y'know," the Cape Town doctor and ultra-marathon enthusiast posted to his Twitter account. He asked the young patients, short on time, about the things that really mattered to them.

What followed was a string of life advice that'll make you want to be a better person, no matter how old you are.


First, it's worth looking at what wasn't important to these kids.

"NONE said they wished they'd watched more TV. NONE said they should've spent more time on Facebook. NONE said they enjoyed fighting with others. NONE enjoyed [the] hospital," tweeted McAlpine.

Many talked about the people and animals who would miss them when they were gone.

"I love Rufus," one child told McAlpine about their dog. "His funny bark makes me laugh." Others worried about whether their parents would be OK.

They all loved stories, and many wish they'd spent less time and energy worrying about what others thought about them.

"ALL of them loved books or being told stories, especially by their parents," wrote McAlpine, who then shared a couple short anecdotes about Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, and literary adventures in space.

They also understood that people who treat you differently for superficial reasons, like your hair or a surgery scar, aren't worth worrying about.

What was important was having fun, being kind, and holding on to their sense of humor.

These kids loved swimming and playing on the beach, and they valued others who extended kindness to them along the way. "I like it when that kind nurse is here," one patient told McAlpine. "She's gentle. And it hurts less."

Above all, they cherished their families (and favorite toys).

"They ALL valued time with their family," said McAlpine. "Nothing was more important."

There's a lot we can learn from these kids — and it's incredibly easy to incorporate their lessons into our lives.

There are seven simple takeaways (well, eight if you count "eat ice cream"):

"Be kind. Read more books. Spend time with your family. Crack jokes. Go to the beach. Hug your dog. Tell that special person you love them."

Easy enough, right?

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.