This is the Way We Learn: Through Family Connections


The Importance of Family Connections

This is the Way We Learn Through Family Connections, Lynn R Webster, MD, Chronic Pain

This article discusses the needs of grandparents and why it is important to them that their grandchildren stay in touch. That reminds me of the movie, “The River Runs Through It,” and the impact the film had on several of my friends and me.

Before I saw the movie, I read the book by Norman McClean after a colleague, who was a cardiac surgeon, highly recommended it. I think my friend’s love of the book was in part due to its theme of flying fishing, as he was an avid fly fisherman.

For me, the themes of the river and flying fishing were a metaphorical bridge between the brothers and their family.

At the end of the movie, I recall everyone in the theatre sat in total silence for several minutes before we slowly and somberly walked out of the dark theater. It seemed the movie induced an incredible nostalgia within all of us.

Grandparents and Their Grandchildren

My surgeon friend told me that immediately after his daughter (who was attending a college out state) saw the movie, she called him and her grandfather and cried. She said she just wanted to hear their voices.

This was at midnight because, as you know, college kids watch the late shows. The fact that she reached out to my friend and her grandfather touched them both very deeply, and they were grateful that the movie reminded her of her roots and love for them.

But the best reason for grandchildren to stay connected with grandparents is what they can learn and experience from spending time (even if it’s only phone time, texting time, Facetime, or Skype time) with them.

A River of Experiences

In my view, a river of emotions and experiences runs through every family. It is what makes us a family and forms who we are.

We should seek and maintain the connection because of the richness it can provide for all of us, whether we’re especially lonely (maybe due to chronic pain) or not.


Purchase my book The Painful Truth: What Chronic Pain Is Really Like and Why It Matters to Each of Us (available on Amazon) or read a free excerpt here.

the painful truth, lynn webster, md, chronic pain

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Copyright 2016, Lynn Webster, MD



  1. Sherrie Harris on March 20, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I love this article. It’s very true. I quote or do something that My Grandparents taught me or done with me. I have very special memories of them. I know that they are looking out for me until we are together again. A Grandparent or Grandparents are very important in a child life. A special love.

  2. Carol Hammond on March 25, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Maybe I didn’t understand what I was reading, I think you were trying to tell pain patients that our pain is caused by:

    bio/psych/social/spiritual disorder. The experience of pain is the sum of all of life’s experience. The combination of fear, anxiety, and stress will factor into that pain experience.

    I am sure some people would fit into this category, I know I don’t and most of the many posts I’ve read don’t fit into this psychological soup. My grandmother and some aunts had Fibromyalgia. I also was in a camper explosion and had 3rd degree burns and 2 years later because I was thrown against a counter hitting my neck I had one of 3 neck surgery. I have had several surgeries in my life (I am 71) the last was a total knee replacement (2013), it was a total failure. My body is in pain (between 6 & 10) 24 hours a day. I have been on the same medication since I began (oxycontin) in 1993, same dose with no problems. If I forget to take it I know because of the building pain. This medication allows me to have a life. I do not understand your philosophy, did I misunderstand you? I am busy studying the CDC plan and am fighting it personally and encouraging others to write into the many list of sites that are fighting it which includes a site that has a petition that will directly be used to fight the CDC

    • Lynn Webster, M.D. on March 27, 2016 at 12:32 am

      Pain from your type of injuries and disease can be enhanced if you have stress in your life. This doesn’t make your pain less real. We know that regardless of the source of pain that a person’s experience with a pain stimulus is very much related to an individual’s emotional and spiritual make up. It is great that you are able to isolate your pain to pure nociceptive input. Most people are not so lucky.

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