Cayden Discovers The Rotary Phone

This originally appeared as a weekly devo for

This is one of my favorite pictures of this summer. Cayden and the Rotary Phone.

The Bivens had me and Cayden over for dinner the week Amy, Cooper, and Camber were at Super Summer. As we are waiting, Cayden notices this fantastic little machine on the counter.

Cayden: “What is this?”

Me: “It’s a phone.”

“No, really. What is it?”

“It’s a rotary phone. You actually have to dial it.”

“A what??”

“Rotary. Dial. Manuel labor.”

I point my finger at her and make a circle in the air. Cayden has no clue what this motion means. From her perspective, phones are things you take pictures with, listen to music, play games, text, find directions, and shoot birds in the air.

“So……how does this work?”

“You stick your finger in those holes, spin it around to the metal thingy there for each number.”

“What number? Do you store the numbers?”

“No, you have to dial all of the numbers. One at a time. Like this.”

Here is what is amazing in this moment – I can hand my child an iPhone and in less than 60 seconds they will have changed my background, ringtone, text alert signal, and time zone. She knows how to run an Icee store but she can not for the life of her figure out this rotary phone.

“You need to quit teasing me. What is it really?”

I make her call me. I have a 8, three 0s, and 9 in my phone number. She messes up a couple a times and is horrified that she has to start ALL the way over again.

“This is taking forever. Dinner is going to be over by the time I get through your number.”

Finally, my phone rings and she is amazed that she can talk to me through this machine.

She says to me “Dad, I’m pretty fortunate to have a dad as smart as you to teach me these things. You are my favorite daddy ever. Can we go get ice cream after dinner?”

Pretty sneaky, little hobbit, she is.

Why tell this story – besides the fact it’s a pretty good story? Because this is discipleship. This simple little interaction of teaching, training, experimenting, and celebrating. She was faced with something she didn’t understand, she listened to someone who did. That someone showed them then allowed her to try it out, allowed her to make some mistakes but those mistakes eventually led to her doing it right. And when she succeeded – we went and had ice cream.

We’ve been pushing and stressing how important it is to disciple another person and be discipled. It’s important but it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s as simple as walking next to another believer and figuring stuff out together with the Spirit. Not easy – but simple.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to walk us through a simple (not necessarily easy) discipleship grid. It’s not the only way. It’s just to get rid of that big excuse so many of use to NOT get involved in discipleship: “It’s too hard and I don’t know what to do.”

Now…if you will excuse me. Cayden and I have to go get some ice cream.


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