Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Change the Channel...

I heard this nifty phrase for the first time today on the CTV morning program known as Canada AM.  The application inference was more than pushing a button on the remote – its connotation referred to switching one line of thought to another! Almost like a “Time Out” indicator which we’re familiar with when someone wants to make input to a conversation.

Astute journalists and commentators, as an example, are most keenly aware of the flow of news reports and studio interviews, especially “Live” broadcasts. The everyday conversations of people everywhere can carry participants along with enthusiasm, until there’s an inadvertent slip of the lip and smiles go south. We sometimes get so caught up in the chitchat that we miss reading subtle signs of uneasiness or inappropriate thought lines, then a disconcerting jolt when the brakes jam on.

It came to mind that the phrase “Changing the Channel” might be an apt tactic for anyone who finds themselves teetering on the brink of hot water! Parents to recalcitrant children, adult children to unravelling parents, friend to friend or spouse to spouse. One accepted approach to keeping conversation alive is to redirect the focus to sidestep confrontation if the other party becomes overly anxious or upset. This strategy is a lifesaver for anyone who provides care to a loved one suffering from dementia – it’s almost like peering far ahead when driving at night – keenly alert to a possible incident!

Just as we sidestep a puddle or avoid thin ice, we can – rather than use the Mute button - hopefully circumvent discord by Changing Channels.

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