Thursday, October 29, 2009

Now month = New virtue ... and FF DVD!!!

Parents, we will be starting a new virtue this Sunday so be sure and join us. And keep in mind the previous virtues- just because the month has past doesn't mean the virtue is gone...

And (drum roll, please), our Family Factory DVDs are finally complete - yeah!!!! We will be handing some out to our trunk-n-treaters this Saturday night.

The DVD has an ADULTS section that explains FF - what we do and why; and a KIDS section that contains well over an hours or clips, songs, videos, and such. It will be an excellent tool to invite our friends and most of all our neighbors to Family Factory.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Family Factory Season 4 in Full Swing...

We hope you get a chance to come visit us, we have made a few additions this year, but mostly it's the same bit of love and enlightenment we've always had. We have worked hard over the last several weeks to produce a Family Factory DVD which shows others who we are and what we do. We will be handing these out to our local community, those coming to our Trunk-N-Treat, the new Boys and Girls Club in our building and the local public school, Shelby Oaks, we, as a church, adopted.

Parents: Be ever diligent in your care and concern for your children's spiritual lives. Our enemy is active, but our God overcomes. If you need to speak to me about anything that concerns you, please grab me or call me and let's talk. I am here for you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

reminder: Family Mission Statement

just wanted to remind you of your summer assignment: develop a family mission statement. it should be on that you and your kids can understand and follow. let them help develop the idea and the mechanics of how it will work in your family. send me yours and i'll post them for inspiration...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Family Factory Website TOTALLY Reworked...

As most of you know, we have been working to make Family Factory available to all for quite some time. Well, the day final came when we were able to get the time to assemble the jigsaw puzzle. Please visit the new site at, , and take a look around. We are very excited to be offering EVERYTHING that is Family Factory free for those who wish to use it. So email the link to family and friends and let's get the word out.

Look for Opportunities

Keep in mind that every "mistake" a child makes is an opportunity for you, the parent (the teacher), to show compassion and offer instruction. Instead of going nuts of a spilled drink in the living room because "I have told you a thousand times not to have open drinks in the living room, AND if you did, don't throw pillows around because it might get knocked over." This happened to me a moth or so ago and i have regretted my immediate response ever since. Yes, he was in the wrong and yes he should not have had the drink in the living room, open and right near where he was throwing pillows and yes we have told him many times...

Yes, he was guilty, but the WAY i handled the situation resulted in him seeing me as a "one strike and you're out dad," as he must walk a thin line and never make a mistake, and/or with future mistakes he'll get them "cleaned" up before i ever now about them. NONE OF THESE ARE GOOD! Instead i WISH i would have just calmly said "ah-oh", talked about thinking about what we're doing, trying to be more responsible, then made used this SMALL, TRIVIAL mistake to open the door to him coming to dad when tings go wrong. If i would have had it in my mind BEFORE the mistake how i was going to handle it and what great points i could make - i.e. life's mistakes have consequences now we have to clean this out of the carpet, or "i remember when i (fill-in-the-blank) with a mistake you made and how you wished you had handled it)" or laughed about it how pillows will almost always win a battle with an open grape fruit drink, etc...

Now, i'm not saying perpetual grace or over-looking disobedience is the way to go, but teaching yourself how to best deal with these transgressions will result in a health relationship with you child. And when these small matters become big matters, you will be included in the possible solution. Remember you are the teacher, and there is no need to create curriculum, it's provided for you everyday.

May God give us wisdom to see past the immediate and constantly dwell on the eternal.


ty jones

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ask Yourself This...

How can i make those around me better?

It doesn't take a genius to know that you will become like those you hang out with. Mainly, I'm talking about friends and co-workers. Most of us have friends who we consider funny or entertaining, but could do without the crude language, sexual comments, racists jokes, etc. So, why are you friends with them? If it's your intent to provide Light to them and you are actively working towards that end every time you are with them, then good for you, keep up the good work. But, otherwise, I'd suggest you move on. Find friends who encourage you in Godly things. Friends you can talk to about things that really matter. Don't allow them to hinder you as you pursue a life worthy of the price that has been paid.

Likewise, be that kind of a friend to those in your circle of influence. Be the one who asks about kids, marriage, life. Be the one who talks about virtues and how you see God at work. Be the friend that encourages and uplifts. No doubt if you can make those around you better, you will be better.

May God flow through you this week and may you bless those around you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ending the Pretending

Just a quick reminder. Kids see a lot more than we'd like to believe they do. This can be both good and bad depending on what their watching. Knowing that should make you want to ensure your example before your children is at it's best. But why pretend to be better than you are? Why pretend to have a great marriage? Why pretend to care about the things you're supposed to? Why pretend when you can actually do it.

Make the life changes to be better than you are now; to have a great marriage; to care about the most important things. Rather than pretending, do the work and live a better life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Saying "No" is Yes, Yes, Yes!

Build character, don't buy stuff. If we want our children to mature into responsible adults, we need to stop buying them so much stuff. We've all heard it a million times, "When I was your age all I had to play with was _______ (dirt, air, broken stick, etc.)" I know as a kid my brother and I had WAY fewer toys and games and stuff than our kids do (and i think we do a pretty good job or saying "no"). One thing is there are so many choices out there and not only choices in types of games, but choices within the choices.

2 points: First, as a parent, don't feel you have to get them everything they want. For my wife and I, nearly every time we say to no to this or that, they forget it in less than a week. 90% of problems solved, get better at saying no. Now I won't go into all the behavior and conditioning mumbo-jumbo, but trust me saying no to your kids is FINE. In fact, it's healthier than saying yes.

Second point is: typically, children need less to be creative, not more. Perfect example is on our trips to Africa. Kids there take discarded plastic bags wrap them up in balls and bind them with string or cording. Or they take a small piece of broken pipe and use a bent piece of sugar cane to "guide it as they run along side. I call it run-n-roll. They also (and this was amazing) take small pieces of wire they find and make cars and trucks by bending the metal into the outline of a 3D vehicle - some complete with trunks, wheels and detailing. They connect their vehicles onto a straight wire back to their hands and "drive" them all around - extremely creative. The third photo down shows three such vehicles.

And you talk about a happy, smiling, proud bunch of kids. They smiled ear to ear when showing off their toys. The toys they had created from nothing. May God give us the wisdom and strength to say "no" to stuff.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

[Incoming Message]

[Back-N-Time connection 49F27S-I93-2009]
Wow, it worked…Mom, Dad is that you? Where’s your gray hair? And what’s up with those lame clothes? Anyhow, I just spent my last $40 using a service called Back-N-Time to come back to 2009 and spend exactly 2 minutes with you. I’ll have to talk quick. I chose this time because I know this is the most influential years of my life and I thought I could change things.

Don’t worry I’m OK, I mean the future me is OK. But I think I could be better. See the economy never fully recovered and well, our Christian beliefs continued to erode as well and now I’m wishing I had paid more attention when I was younger. I wish I had more to build on and believe in. I wish you had taken more time to grow my faith and not just my body and my brain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m alive today because you taught me to work and think, but inside I feel empty.

I realize now there’s a BIG difference between knowing about God and actually knowing God. I’m glad you took me to church and Family Factory was awesome, but now, some 40 years later it seems we (and by we, I mean you) didn’t carry what we learned at church back home. We enjoyed the show but that was it. I really think I’d be in much better shape if you would have taken more time to help me understand and apply what we learned. It sounded so simple – pray and study your Bible.

What? Awww man you’ve got to be kiddin’ me … seems my time’s almost gone … know that I love you and I’m doing OK, but I’d trade every soccer practice and school project to have found God at age 8 instead of 48. Tell everyone I said “Hi” and I guess you’d like to know I married…
[to continue this connection please deposit another $40]

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cutting the Cord

I have a song titled, "Cut The Cord" - some say it's their favorite. It's a song that talks about the fact that we as parents can be WAY to protective when it comes to the safety of our children. OK, protection and safety = not bad; OVER-protection = is bad. My point is, if we don't allow our kids to understand the results of their negative actions, we are stunting their ability to grow and mature. What they will learn is mom and dad will take care of it and believe me that mindset can continue with them into and through out adulthood.

For those who have the Factory Hits vol. 2 CD, take some time and listen to the words (yes, I know they are fast). What you'll hear is your kid CAN NOT make it into Heaven by using your life or your faith, they MUST have their own. So hold your ground and let them fall a few times.
See, life’s not always sweet, it’s sour and it’s bitter
It’s more than a coloring book, and some glue and some glitter
I need some healthy fear consequences that are clear
I need some bumps and bruises, some blood, some sweat, some tears
(Excerpt from "Cut The Cord" © 2007 Ty Jones)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Include Them...

You may be like my wife and myself, we are get-the-job-done kind of people. Task-oriented, don't get in my way, don't slow me down, I have a list and I will complete it, kind of people. Well, this is not the way to raise well-rounded, healthy, independent, creative and critical thinking kids. In fact, it creates just the opposite - lazy, dependent and unappreciative kids (perhaps I can give more details more on this subject in a later post). But for now let's just say, it's a flaw we have and we know it.

As our church has just launched a "40 days of prayer" campaign, it would be much easier for us to set aside our prayer time and check that off our list. It would be easier not to include our kids, saying they're too young, too busy, too whatever - BUT WE'RE NOT!. We are making a conscious effort to include our kids in this act of worship and communication with God.

Yes it takes more time, but being a better parent usually does. So let me encourage you to help your kids find a time and a place to talk to God. For instance, I re-drafted the prayer direction our church sent out and made it more kid-friendly. I gave them a list of things to pray about and for. I spoke to them about the importance of spending time with God one-on-one. I helped them find a spot in their rooms. Please realize it will not always go as planned but helping them understand that God cares what they have to say and He has things to say to them is what's important.

For this first session, I asked them to honor God with 5 minutes of silence before they started their prayer time. Afterwords, I asked our youngest if he heard God speak to him during the silent time, to which he replied, "No." I then asked, "What did you hear?," to which he responded, "Air."

Well, it's a start.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Master, Mission & Mate

I was listening to a Christian talk radio program the other day and the guest was talking about the key roles a parent plays in their children's lives. He listed these three "M" words and though I can't recall exactly what he said about them, I liked the three words and will give you my take on them.

Master: Our kids need to know they have one. They were created by a Creator, lost to loser, then saved by a Savior. They exist because their Master gave them life and redeemed that life to spend all eternity with Him. They need to know they can not serve money, houses, careers, other people, etc.; they must serve the One who gave them life and who calls them home.

Mission: Our kids need to know they have a purpose and their purposes need to be His purposes and not their own. Anything else they pursue is just a waste of time. Once they understand they are His, they are able to go about His work. God is not here to bless THEIR plans; rather He wants to accomplish His plans THROUGH them. The younger they hear and understand this the wiser they will become. At some point people finally do "get it" and see that chasing their dreams has all been for nothing. It's then they wish they could go back and re-do their lives. May this NOT be the case for our children. Help them right now understand their life has real purpose.

Mate: How many of our parents prayed for our future mates? How many spoke with us about the characteristics and qualities we should look for in a friend and future mate? Not money or education, status or even physical attraction, but godliness and faithful obedience. We need to be very active in this process. I've seen way too many couple end up on the rocks because they were first attracted to each other for shallow, surface reasons. We need to make sure we are not setting our children up for future disaster by rewarding and modeling shallow relationships. One thing you can do is point out the positive qualities of your mate, things like prayer time, honesty, gentleness, self-sacrifice, integrity, compassion, etc.

We need to make sure our children understand there is a Master and their lives should be joyfully devoted to His work and not they own selfish desires; and that their time on this earth, should they choose to get married, will be best spent with a mate who has a fearful devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. So, take inventory in these three areas and see where you are lacking as a parent; then focus in on that area and get busy! Time is short and right now your words and actions carry weight, use them to mold your kids. God did not give us our children for a time, but for eternity; let's parent like we believe that!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hidden Light

Those who attend may know, but they may not. For those who don't attend, they certainly do not and both are a shame. The fact is Sycamore View has one of the best Children's Ministry offerings in the entire city, perhaps the region. Our Family Factory show is so far beyond other productions, it's more like a ticketed event. Sure our philosophy is not main stream, but it's proven and productive in the lives of those who matter - the kids and the parents. We have an EXCELLENT group of volunteers that work hard every week to bring forth God's message in a creative and practical way.

My only regret is, for the most part, it remains hidden. It's like having a free circus or ballgame or broadway show or High School Musical right here in Memphis/Bartlett and no one knows about it. We need to do a better job of getting the word out. We need to be talking to our neighbors and schoolmates, our family and friends and getting them to come experience what we offer - just once.

So my challenge to you is to ask someone this week to come and see Family Factory. Think about it, every week that they DON'T come is another week they miss out on experiencing a more complete life by knowing the things you already know. Have the courage. Walk right up to them and ask. Just move your mouth and God will give you the words.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is Family Factory?

That a tough question to answer because it depends on which part you're asking about. See Family Factory is a place, it's an idea, it's a program, it's the people; it's many things all at once. I guess at its core, it can best be explained by defining and combining the two words.

First, we have FAMILY. That’s a unit of people God has placed together to experience and live life.

Second, we have FACTORY. A factory is where raw materials are brought together to produce something of value.

So, Family Factory is a place where families are brought together to become more focused on making God the center of their daily lives. Because when we are truly and totally focused on and committed to God, we become the MOST VALUABLE thing on earth - HIS!

Nothing is more important than your personal relationship with God. Nothing! And it’s never too early to start that relationship. That’s why we come together and learn about these virtues, so we may know more about God and try to pattern our lives to fit His expectations. Do you know your life is not your own? Well it’s not. It’s Gods, to do with however He sees fit. But that’s another lesson on another day…

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Quiz Time ...

Age 3, Age 6, Age 9, Age 12.

Q: At what age do you think a child's moral foundations are set in place? Research shows that by the age of 9 years old, a child's understanding and realization of right and wrong are pretty much in place.

Q: Within which age range is the framework set to which the rest of their lives will be primarily lived? Again, studies show that between the ages of 3 and 9, a child's direction is set.

Q: By what age would you think a child's spiritual beliefs are largely set in place? Some experts feel it's as early as age 12. Of course this varies by maturity, but understand that way before they choose a career, way before they drive a car, way before they reach puberty, kids are forming concrete views and understandings of spiritual things.

FINAL Q: Are you doing what you need to do to provide your kids with an accurate and personal moral compass? Are you feeding them the spiritual nourishment they need as they mature? OR, are you allowing SpongeBob, Hannah Montana, and their best friend at school to enlighten them? What do they see on your TV at night? What do they learn from the friends you keep? What do they hear from your mouth?

Point: We have a very popular song we sing called "Monkey See" which follows a bad dad. Eventually he comes to understand that THEY ARE WATCHING OUR EVERY MOVE and he needs to be better. I'm sorry you can't change the past, but you can start RIGHT NOW and make a difference. If need be, sit them down and talk about it. Tell them, "mommy/daddy has not been acting like I want you to act. I'm going to act better and i hope you do too." Being a parent is hard work, it requires a Hard Hat, but that's another song and another day...