In 1 Nephie 8, Lehi tells his family of his dream about a tree of life, iron rod, and large and spacious building that has no foundation. In summary. Lehi sees half of his family partaking of the fruit, but two of his sons, Laman and Lemuel, refuse to listen to their father and come to the tree.
When Lehi finishes retelling his dream, he begins to "exhort" his sons to keep the commandments. Nephi, "the perfect child," who is telling this story says, "He did exhort them with all the feelings of a tender parent."
As I've been thinking about this, what would Laman and Lemuel have said about this if they had been the ones writing it. My guess based on what happens later in the story (they try to kill both their dad and Nephi) is that they would have probably said something like this:
"We're camping because our dad's a lunatic and the people in Jerusalem want to kill him. Then, he sends us back to get a stupid book that nearly gets us killed twice and costs us out entire savings. Well, we get back with these super hot girls and what does he do? He tells this crazy dream about a tree. Everything relies on his family getting to the tree but according to him we refuse to go to this stupid tree. Then, he tells us that we are horrible children because we won't come to the tree in his dream. Hello, it was only a dream! Anyway, in front of everyone he reprimands us saying that we need to be better children. I can't believe he could be so embarrassing."
How often do we respond as I assume Laman and Lemuel did to someone who is giving us counsel and warning? For example, I've heard people say things about the prophet when he gives some new counsel or repeats old , as keeping the sabbath day holy, homosexuality is a sin, and you should not tatoo your body, "He's old and out of touch with society." or "He doesn't have the right to tell me what to do with my body." or "That's just counsel, it doesn't really matter."
As a parent/adult I understand lehi a little better. One of the hardest things we have to do in this life is watch as people make mistakes. Luckily my son is only four and his mistakes so far only involve skinned knees.
I can see as lehi warns his two struggling children with all of his feelings-pleading with them to listen. I can also see laman and Lemuel rolling their eyes, ignoring their dad-because afterall what does he know?
In the end nephi writes, "he did cease speaking unto them." we can exhort, expound, plead, even beg that our children (or whoever) will do what we feel/believe/know is best, but eventually we will need to cease speaking and let them make their own decisions- even if that invloves watching them suffer.