1.) First there was a sense of CARING for one another. They were taught that caring is at the heart of a decent life. This included every living and non-living thing on the family farm. Without caring, nothing matters, and we allow indifference and hate to consume our way of life.
2.) People who care must be willing to take RESPONSIBILITY. They were taught to be accountable for their actions, enjoying praise when things go well and willing to accept when things go wrong. There were enough chores for everyone to find their niche in real life. However, in the children’s book series of the Strolemoolies, the dairy herd was the main responsibility before other chores. A dairy herd of twenty-six required each of the dozen plus one to assume two cows twice daily, three hundred sixty-five days of the year. In addition, each of the children flourished with chores they so loved that made the farm work.
3.) They found that if they take responsibility for themselves, others will begin to RESPECT them. They were encouraged to believe that respect means to see themselves as valuable individuals. Their special qualities gave them meaning and purpose in life. This family found themselves to be different as they transitioned into the adult world. The book series adds another touch to the need for respect among the family. Every character is unique and looks different but that does not matter. They have different color skin, eyes, and hair. Each has a skill that the others do not have.
4.) When people care for and respect each other, TRUST takes root and grows. The farming operations depended upon everyone to complete their responsibilities. Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa fostered that element of trust both in real life and in the book series. They celebrated those accomplishments at the family dinner table, a vital part of daily life.
5.) A sense of belonging was ever present on the family farm. Whether it was the milk production, number of eggs gathered, growth of the pigs, the flourishment of the garden, or crop yields, FAMILY is the school of character, the place where values are taught and learned. For Grandpa Strole, it was imperative that each member of the family needed to be a vital part of the success of the farm to gain a sense of belonging.
Every family has trials and tribulations; the Strole family had their share of problems as well. However, they did not let weaknesses consume the success of their strengths. There were the ever-present temptations of alcohol and tobacco abuse, greed and jealousy, but the Strole family established themselves as independent contributors to society in which they lived. It was apparent the influence and modeling of what is good by Simeon, Myrtle, Wilma and Wayne, led to an understanding of knowing the good, seeing the good, and doing the good.
Education was a priority but not as readily available as today. Simeon did however attend post-secondary education and was considered a very wise man among the grandchildren. Wayne was a man who only knew to work, work, work. However, he fell ill and died leaving Wilma to finish raising the youngest boys. Proudly, Wilma managed for all thirteen children to finish high school which was quite an accomplishment of the time. Three children went on to post-secondary education and three of the boys served proudly in the military.
The stories of life experiences on the farm are endless. Oral history by the living children has spawned the inception of the Strolemoolies of Fayetteville. It is apparent that family life on the farm offered opportunities to live by example. Farming continued as a way of life in some form for all thirteen and the forty grandchildren. The stories written about this family are inspired by the learning experiences of all including the grandchildren and the great grandchildren.