Monica and Don Hausmann teach a Children’s Sunday School pre-K class. Don owns a small packaging business, and Monica has kept busy with Girl Scouts and PTA since their children were born. They have three daughters: Madeline, 17; Jessica, 14; and Samantha, 5.
MONICA: We’ve been here at Chapelwood about five years. Our littlest one is the reason we’re here.
DON: We were both raised Catholic, so we had started going to the Catholic church. We were married there, and our older kids were baptized there. The church began to change in many ways and slowly we stopped going.
MONICA: Because of that, we didn’t raise our two older daughters in church. And then, when our surprise daughter came along, I said, “We have to go back to church.” Don said, “We’ll go find another Catholic church,” but I had always heard that Dr. Jackson at Chapelwood was just amazing, and so I said, “We’re going to Chapelwood!”
DON: Our daughters played sports here – volleyball and soccer. Chapelwood is a whole community, and has all this stuff for the kids, and I was really open to coming here. So, we started coming and really liked it.
MONICA: And here we are – and we teach Sunday School. Go figure! Nobody would have pegged us for that.
DON: Occasionally when I’m out of town, one of our daughters will fill in for me.
MONICA: That is the best thing! It becomes a family affair. Our older girls will go to church or just come and assist with the crafts. These young kids in our class LOVE my teenage girls. The kids make a connection with their teachers. They really do, so I try to get us in whenever we can.
DON: When you sign up, you do so knowing that the kids, as they grow up, really need to have someone consistent they can trust. I’m okay with that.
MONICA: When we trained, they asked us to commit to serving twice a month. We said we’ll do it twice a month up until volleyball tournaments hit in April.
DON: And then we did it a month straight before that because we knew we were going to be out so much later. They email the lesson to us ahead of time so we can be prepared – that’s very helpful.
MONICA: It’s not difficult at all. The staff comes up with the lesson plan, and gets everything ready. What we do is read the kids a story, and talk about it, and then we’ll do a craft that relates to it, and then at this age, pre-K, they go see Jennifer Palomo, also known as “Miss Peacock.” She does this great storytelling, and the kids love her. We all gather in her room and she explains the story and acts it out, in a fun, outgoing way. She “concretes” the lesson in – and when she asks them questions, they know the answers, almost before she asks. They all say, “I know! I know! I know!” We are always so proud that they remember what we talked about.
DON: We’ve had as few as nine kids, and as many as 23. It gets crazy when we’re at 23, but that’s pretty rare. Usually we’re talking about twelve to fifteen kids.
MONICA: There are three classrooms that teach our age group. We have a core group of kids in our room who come on a regular basis. Every now and then you get some kids you’ve seen just a couple of times. But we know them – and remember their names. Of course, there are other kids in other classrooms that we don’t see until we’re in the large storytelling group.
DON: If anybody wants to give teaching Sunday School the time and try it, they’ll fall in love with it. I look forward to doing this on Sundays, and doing even more with the kids as they grow up. To see these crazy kids become older, and hopefully be able to rely on you . . . It will be nice to be able to do this as the kids grow up.
MONICA: Seeing them grow in their faith – that’s really cool. I love Chapelwood.
DON: We both love Chapelwood.
MONICA: The kids have touched my life. They really have. We’ll do it again next year.