It’s November. It’s stressful. It’s cold, and I’m running out of sources of joy. So I went to the experts on campus: the students of the Campus Center for Young Children, or CCYC. 

I worked with these children over the summer, and man, kids really do say the darndest things. So, in hopes of renewing my lively flame of life, I ventured over to the church playground and asked some kiddos some questions. 

What advice would you give to a stressed college student, like me? 

I got varied replies on this one, from “I don’t know” to “give them a hug” to “I don’t want to go to college, but my mom wants me too” (that one was from a three-year-old). My personal favorite was “I don’t know what stress is” which, truth be told, I wish that was my case, as well. Obviously I didn’t receive the deep, meaningful, wisdom that I was seeking, but I did get lots of hugs, and that was nice.

How do you know if you love someone?

“You give them hugs” was the resounding answer to this question. So, of course, my follow-up question was “how many hugs should someone get in a day?” My dear Hugo said only two hugs, but Bella, a notorious hugger, said at least nine hugs per day. Google would agree with Bella, as it quotes therapist Virginia Satir as saying that “We need four hugs a day for survival… eight hugs a day for maintenance… [and] 12 hugs a day for growth.” 

Some children said they didn’t know how you know you love someone, and that’s completely valid. It’s hard to recognize and accept something as big and bombastic as love. 

The third and final question I asked the brilliant students was:

What is the meaning of life?

Aside from the slew of expected “I don’t know”s, one student stood out among the rest. When I asked him the question, he turned away with a pensive expression, before looking me directly in the eye and saying: “From the heart.” Now, I don’t know exactly what he meant, and I don’t think he did either (he really didn’t, I asked him to expand and he just shrugged), but I think the sentiment rings true. Live life from your heart! From the feelings inside that can’t be quantified. Say funny things, do dumb things, and live fully and truly. I think this is the best advice I’ve gotten from a four-year-old. It certainly made me smile, and I hope this will do the same for you.