When Jeziel called Colin Buchanan to chat about his latest project, the weather in Perth was cloudy. Not for Colin. He described his surroundings as autumnal, as if to say “Oi, count your blessings!” It’s this constantly optimistic and extroverted outlook that has marked Buchanan’s career. A seasoned children’s entertainer, he’s carried this optimism through his expansive career, from Play School to countless award winning albums.
However, in times like these, even the most extroverted are taking a moment to stop, whether they like it or not. “It is a curious thing. I am a bit of a have a chat to anyone sort. It’s a curious time, and I think even the most introverted of us get a little reset from our contact people. And it’s making me realise that there’s a lot of significant contact we have with people that we don’t even talk to. We’re just in the presence of them.”
“A virtual knock on the digital door”
So for someone who spends his life being that contact person for children around Australia and around the world, things are now more complicated. With no gigs for the foreseeable future, Colin was thrown. “But then there was a virtual knock at the digital door from compassion. They said their network of churches could really use some kids talks. So they sent down Tom the cameraman with his 1.5m stick, and we shot a bunch in the lounge room.” But it’s not just about doing a little work and keeping Tom and himself busy, Colin explains. “It’s met a really great need. They’re popped into church online, so they’ve been a useful resource for churches. It’s brought another dimension of Christian input into people’s lives.”
Colin is well and truly aware of the power of this Christian input in the videos. “They’re actually a bit old school now I think about it. I grew up in a little Presbyterian church. If there was a kid’s talk, nine times out of ten, it would be done by the main minister, who would also give the sermon later. So the message was always that teaching children truths from God’s word is important. It’s not below the main man of the church. So it was a great model. Share a little verse and a strong truth.”
Of course, a man with such a long history in kids entertainment isn’t going to let an opportunity for a sing along and a show and tell go by. “We sing a couple of tunes. Maybe a little object lesson. In one I plant a couple of seeds, and the lesson is that God’s at work, even when we can’t see him.”
“Something I’ve never done before”
One of Colin’s main objectives was to make sure the talks maintained a pastoral dimension. For this, instinct took over. “Something I’ve never done before, and it just felt instinctive to do, especially in this time, was to pray at the end. I don’t usually pray on a video. But that’s something that has been quite lovely to do.”
As Colin explains, this current environment is a unique one. “It’s a curious thing in that it’s such a big issue. But it’s also penetrating the very small parts of life. Whether kids can see their friends, go to school or kindy. It’s a lot to process. But life is the schoolroom of the Christian faith. there’s a strong theme of the Psalms in the kid’s talks. They’re great pictures of people looking to the greatness of God in times of hardship, and being assured that his loving purposes will stand.”
Catch up on episode 1 – 3 below, they’re just 7 minutes long. A new episode will be released each Saturday for the next 3 weeks!
To hear all of Jeziel’s chat with Colin Buchanan, check out the podcast below: