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Head of School Monthly Updates

DR. KERLIN - September 1, 2023
- First Thoughts -

Dear SouthLake Christian Academy Families,

Last night we met with hundreds of families for JK-8 Curriculum Night. I told the audience in attendance that such events take on added importance in a society increasingly skeptical about what schools teach. We make our curriculum fully accessible to parents because we have nothing to hide. Meeting face-to-face also helps us humanize each other in ways that increase empathy and trust, both necessities as we partner together for the benefit of your children.

When the Maui wildfires devastated the town of Lahaina last month, early criticism focused on the EMA Director who did not activate the county’s warning sirens. When I first heard the story, I reflexively thought, “What an idiot!” That thought persisted unchallenged in my mind for days. Then I heard an interview with the Director, Herman Andaya, who explained that the sirens were used primarily for tsunamis, and residents hearing them would likely flee inland, directly toward the fires. My entire perspective changed. I was forced to admit that I didn’t know if the decision was correct or not; I had insufficient information to form a credible opinion. I was reminded of Proverbs 18:17: “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

In-person interaction informs our beliefs about each other. Face to face we see where our judgments have been hasty and our information incomplete. Each time we meet, whether at carline, an athletic event, a school meeting, or a fine arts performance, we build the relational capital a healthy community needs. Research consistently shows a growing incivility in America, much of it executed through digital communication fueled by online disinhibition. By contrast, I have seen a growing civility at SouthLake in recent months. Perhaps because as a Christ-centered community, we are called to something even greater than civility. We are called to love.

As you head into the Labor Day weekend, rest well in the knowledge that we genuinely love you and your children. Thank you for trusting us with them. We never take that for granted.

In Christ,

Matthew S. Kerlin, Ph.D.
Head of School
SouthLake Christian Academy