Recently, I interviewed my mother to document some family history. The advice she had for her four children and five grandchildren was, “Always show respect. Respect is central to good communication, and communication is key.” This brought tears to my eyes not just because she is getting older (now 71 years old) and I cherish these moments of deep reflection, but I too believe that communication is key. I am a Maui mother of two, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague, a student, and a teacher. From my personal experience, it is quite clear that communication is key in every facet of our lives. So, I created “The Communification Podcast,” to help us with the “beautification of our communication.” The path to creating my “thesis baby” was not easy so perhaps I should rewind to give you the backstory on how it all came to be.
These last few years, I found myself on autopilot with no clue how I got there, just an aching feeling in my gut that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to. Something had to change. I started going to therapy, began reading again, and committed to personal development. In 2019, we were on an upswing and I got happy news – a new baby! I wanted to surprise my husband, so later that week I asked him to perform with me at a Blue Zones Project purpose workshop that I was hosting. We sang “I Hope You Dance” and as he set down the guitar, I shared the good news. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We began to plan for that new future, and named the baby “Kahiau” (love with no expectation of return). We sure loved that baby, but unfortunately we never met… after that loss, I felt so lost. My mind was spinning. What’s next? What do I do now?
Strangely enough, a little voice in my head said, “Go back to school.” My husband and my professors (from 16 years ago when I began my Masters program) were so supportive. I’ve always been passionate about the scientific study of human communication, and now I had the opportunity to immerse myself in that world again. My mind drank in the information… conflict management, interpersonal communication, persuasion, computer mediated communication… grad school shifted my focus, changed my perspective, and allowed me to find my purpose again. When choosing my thesis project I knew that whatever I chose would be a long-term commitment. The idea was to create something where I could use my skills as a journalist and teacher, but also build community and learn alongside the listeners. A podcast felt like the perfect fit.
The first season is focused on communication and technology. Currently, I’m interviewing communication researchers, and having deep, authentic discussions about those communication issues with fabulous guests. Experts will be sharing research about the positivity bias (how we are inclined to put our best face forward), parental phubbing (when parents snub their children while on their phones), cyberbullying, body image, unfollowing, building community on the web, deception, and so much more. In each episode, experts give us research-based strategies for how to deal with these issues and my guests then discuss what they have learned and how they incorporate those lessons into their everyday lives. The premiere episode features Maui residents, Jessica and Garrett Gee of The Bucket List Family. We dissect a lesson by Dr. Erin Spottswood about how social media is impacting our lives. This podcast is a dream come true for me and a way to pour kahiau into something that will hopefully build community while also giving us insight into why “communication is key.”
The Mauimama is hosting my pilot episode on its Facebook page. The official podcast launch is scheduled for late summer. To learn more, you can join the email list at CommunificationPodcast.com and follow The Communification Podcast on social media.
Image Credit: Malika Dudley