For no-BS advice that’s actually useful, ask a 5 year old.

Smart Kids2

The problem with being an adult is that we put too much stock in the wisdom of other adults. We assume that the longer a person has been alive on the planet, the more practical knowledge they’ve accrued.

Call it the Yoda Effect. Old and wrinkled just seems intrinsically smarter. But this assumption rarely turns out to be true.

When was the last time you met an old guy who looked even vaguely like Yoda who told you anything that was even remotely useful? Probably never.

They likely just growled at you, complained that music isn’t as good as it used to be, and then fell asleep.

Here’s a hypothetical to put it in perspective: If you needed some straight-talking, no BS, from-the-heart advice, would you rather get it from Noam Chomsky, or your 5-year-old nephew?

The answer is obvious. The 5 year old.

If you need somebody to explain the propaganda model in modern corporate media, Noam’s your man.

But if you’re trying to figure out love, or your career, or how to cut down on stress, the only counsel worth your time can be bribed with cartoons and candy.

We assembled a panel of kids too wise to realize how wise they are, and asked them to explain some of life’s mysteries. They did not disappoint.

Fitness
“Run around the backyard like the dog does. He seems like he’s in pretty good shape.”
—Gavriella, age 7

“Make sure your muscles are trying as hard as they can. And keep your bones straight. [Sits up, to demonstrate.] Also, do more jumping jacks.”
—Aki, age 5

“Yoga is a good idea. It stretches out your body so you don’t shrink.”
—Gemma, age 7

“Just run all the time. Run like there’s hot lava behind you. Cause then even if you get tired, you’ll be like, ‘Aaaaaaiee! Lava!’ And you’ll keep running.”
—Charlie, age 5

Relationships
“First you try to underestimate her and say that you don’t like her and stuff, and then the next year you just ask, ‘Will you marry me?’”
—Logan, age 7

“Well, you have to be near her but also not too near—like, medium. Kind of near her but also not. Go away from her when she wants you to, but also come near her.”
—Gavriella, age 7

“Don’t put a glue stick in her hair. It sounds funny, but she never thinks so.”
—Charlie, age 5

“Ask her, ‘Can we play together?’ If she says yes, then you have a great deal.”
—Aki, age 5

Nutrition
“You need to eat spinach. And then you can throw it up in the toilet. And chicken. Is tortellini healthy?”
—Gavriella, age 7

“Eat lots of broccoli. It might give you bad farts, but it makes you stronger if you eat the stems. If you fart a lot but you’re strong, I think that’s a good compromise.”
—Gemma, age 7

“Eat green beans. [Her 3 year old brother Eli interrupts, shouting, “We don’t eat ribbons!”] I told you green beans!”
—Madeline, age 5

“Don’t do any diets. Just eat healthy stuff without doing anything weird. Definitely don’t do the diet where you eat other humans.”
—Logan, age 7

“If you eat salad, make sure it’s not poison ivy. That poison ivy will get you, mister.”
—Charlie, age 5

Stress
“Go take a walk in the woods. Nature is great because it has birds and Bigfoot. [Long pause.] Bigfoot’s not alive, right?”
—Ian, age 5

“Sometimes you have to laugh so hard, you super-pee. That’s when you pee over your entire pants. Your pants are like ruined with pee. That’s how hard you laughed.”
—Charlie, age 5

Fashion
“Wear more leather jackets. And spiky pants. But not with spikes on your butt. Just spikes everywhere else.”
—Gemma, age 7

“Stick with plaid and fedoras.”
—Morgan, age 8

[Uses a pen to draw her answer.] “This is a gold sweatshirt with lots of X’s on it. Or a dress that I assume boys aren’t wearing. Unless they want to. That’s okay if they do.”
—Aki, age 5

“Just buy lots of cool shorts.”
—Oscar, age 5

Money
“Bury your money in the back yard. But make a map so you remember where the money is. But then hide the map where you can’t find it, so you don’t dig up the money. Maybe give the map to a friend who has enough money.”
—Charlie, age 5

“Wait for Christmas or for your birthday.”
—Logan, age 7

“You should go to work and stay there while your sons are at school. That way, your sons won’t come home from school and say, ‘Why did you buy a trampoline? We don’t have any money!’ [Long pause.] Except a trampoline would be cool, so definitely get the trampoline.”
—Ian, age 5

“Buy more things that give you back more change. If you have a lot of coins, your pockets will be heavy and you’ll think, ‘I’m rich!’ It’s all about heavy pockets.”
—Aki, age 5

“Go to the one dollar store. Even if they don’t have anything you want, everything only costs a dollar.”
—Oscar, age 5

Longevity
“Drink like three gallons of water every day, or become a tree or jelly fish.”
—Morgan, age 8

“If one of your parents has a secret from a hundred year old, ask them and they can tell you secretly. If someone else finds out then they will get angry that you know it.”
—Madeline, age 5

“Get a bigger house. If your house is really big, you’ll have to walk a long way just to get to the bathroom. That’s a lot of exercise. I think people who live to 100 had to walk up and down a lot of stairs just to go potty.”
—Ian, 5

“Don’t cross the street without looking both ways because you could get hit by a car and then somebody else gets all the candy.”
—Charlie, age 5

[This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Men’s Health.]