Giving, Getting, and Responding to Bad Advice

Giving, Getting, and Responding to Bad Advice

Have you ever given advice that you knew was bad? Have you ever accepted and followed advice that you knew was bad? Why do we do that? Let’s take a look at the last part of the Daniel story we unpacked and see what we learned. 

The Babylonians are out and the Persians are in. With them comes a new king, Darius. He’s got three ministers overseeing the rest of his government. One of them is Daniel. Daniel has an “extraordinary spirit” – he’s honesty, trustworthy, insightful, and hardworking. Darius likes him the  best. The other ministers aren’t pleased with that situation. They make up a sneaky plan to oust Daniel. The other ministers advise Darius to implement a ban on worshiping anyone or anything but him for 30 days. When Daniel gets caught continuing to pray to God, he gets thrown in a lion’s den. Daniel’s belief in God saves him from the lions, but the ministers who plotted against him don’t have such good luck.

Why did the ministers want to find something wrong with Daniel?

  • They were jealous – they didn’t think it was fair for him to be in charge.
  • They didn’t want him in charge especially because he’s not from their country.
  • They wanted to get rid of him because they didn’t like him.
  • They thought it was unreasonable for him to be Darius’s favorite.

How could we tell that the ministers were giving bad advice?

  • They planned a trick to get what they wanted.
  • They could have had a polite conversation with Darius instead.
  • What they did wasn’t honest.

How can you tell in general if advice is bad? 

  • If it hurts someone else.
  • If it gets them in trouble.
  • If it gets you in trouble.

When am I more likely to give bad advice?

  • When I’m annoyed with someone.
  • If they’re making their problems my problems.
  • If I want to just solve a problem as quickly as possible and I’m not being thoughtful.

Why might someone give or accept bad advice?

  • Because they’re trying to get the other person in trouble.
  • Because they’re not thinking well [maybe because of how they’re feeling. The ministers were probably feeling angry, jealous, upset, and impatient.]
  • Because they genuinely think it’s a good idea.
  • Because that choice worked well for them in the past.

Would you still want to be friends with someone who gave you bad advice? 

  • No, it means they might be out to get you.
  • Maybe, people aren’t all bad.
  • Yes, I sometimes give bad advice and I wouldn’t want people to not be friends with me if I make a mistake.

We think the ministers were making a mistake when they tried to be tricky to stop Daniel from being in charge. What’s another way they could have responded to Darius’s favoritism? How can we respectfully tell someone in charge that we’re uncomfortable with a decision or instruction?

  • Say “no thank you.”
  • Tell them it makes you uncomfortable. Adults sometimes get it.
  • Use words and be direct.

Getting from big, upset feelings to a calm enough place to use polite, direct words can be tough! Stay tuned to hear more about how we’re practicing identifying our feelings, getting calm, and making peaceful, kind, and respectful choices in the weeks to come.

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