The Virtue of Guiding Philosophies and Principles
Every year I have the unwanted task of reading through and editing our policies and protocols in our various handbooks/manuals. I must confess that I don’t always reread the “permanent part” of our manuals, the unchanging philosophies and principles. After all, I won’t be changing them, so why read them, right? 
 
But this year I did something different. I reread our underlying philosophies and guiding principles. It is our Tenth Year Anniversary, right? We are going for Accreditation, right? And what did I find? They’re great! They make great and encouraging reading and they are the great things by which we actually guide our school and its community.
 
In the Foundations section of our Parent-Student Handbook (PaStHa), everything begins with and flows from our Vision: To challenge, equip, and encourage families by providing parents with time, tools and community, that they may effectively train their children to develop character and conviction in the Truth, the Veritas, of God’s eternal Word.
 
This Vision is the foundation of our school and of things like Paideia and Pre-Service Training of our teachers. In both cases, the focus was on how to help each family experience God’s desired transformation for each home, each parent and each child. The practical context in which all this takes place is Veritas Academy of Tucson–both in the on campus and in the satellite classrooms. 
 
The Guiding Principles — The section on the Guiding Principles was inspiring. I knew it all before, but it really helped me to refocus and to realize that these are not just words on paper, but they are the principles for why we do things the way we do them. Our guiding principles are to: 
  • Love and Glorify God 
  • Love People
  • Affirm, Encourage and Equip Parents 
  • Integrate Home and School 
  • Educate with Excellence 
  • Assist Other Communities    
May I encourage you to read over this section? Integrate Home and School in age-appropriate ways throughout the curriculum design and student activities.  A Christian, University Model™ School exists to assist parents with the modern-day difficulties of preparing their children for college while also recognizing and supporting the parents’ unique role in communicating their faith and values.  For parents to succeed in their all-important task of discipleship, it is essential for families to experience meaningful time together.  Traditional school systems, by their very structure, tend to rob parents and students of this most precious commodity.  UMS gives time and access back to parents in exchange for their commitment to be academically and relationally involved with their students outside of class according to the college-preparatory, curriculum design.  Such involvement, when lovingly and joyfully administered, leads to greater opportunity for parents to succeed in teaching their most important “subjects” ‑ faith, hope, and love.  This good-faith partnership between parents and teachers makes home and school integration for a family-strengthening, quality education both possible and practical.
 
I like how this puts it — Veritas Academy of Tucson actually makes a pact with each family that we will work hard to give you time with your children and in exchange each family commits “to be academically and relationally involved with [its] students.” Then it goes on to say that this involvement gives parents the greatest success to teach the most important subjects to our children — faith, hope and love!
 
As I kept reading I started praying, fervently praying for our families. No longer was I involved in the dry pursuit of rewriting policies and protocols (rules some call them). These things are just house keeping. But the meat and potatoes (or do you prefer the quinoa and kale?) of what we are doing is working hand and heart in alignment with God our Creator to do His mission on this earth! And I started to pray for each family’s success in this mission and protection from the evil one.
 
We have an enemy that thinks he is winning. And in the outside culture, it looks like that at times. But I think that something is happening all across our country and even around the world. And we are part of it. Our country needs a revival in the worst way. Legislation cannot stop mass shooters. Legislation cannot cause marriage to be highly valued by all. Rallies and elections will not re-establish the sanctity of human life as a core value of our country.  Only God’s transformation of the heart on a broad scale will reverse the trends of wickedness in our country and world. 
 
This heart change often goes on without notice to others. Bit by bit a person, often a child, chooses to order his or her heart rightly on the Lord. This young one begins to pray for God’s power to work in him or her. Priorities shift, studies take on a new bent and the student is seeking God’s glory in everything rather than his or her own. 
 
This heart change is shared with others, it is passed down to the next generation and spreads to friends and families. Soon a community is touched by this and then the impact spreads. Who knows what God is working in and through us? But the key thing is that we are making choices, choices expressed in our Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles and worked out in our curriculum and even the way we do sports. The whole community grows a Paideia that reflects the heart of God. 
Soon the polished version of the PaStHa will be released and posted on our website. I encourage you to read it, not just for the rules, but for a hearty reminder of why we do what we do in the way that we do it.
God’s best,
Christopher
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