I had one of my proudest parenting moments ever last week.
I was driving the kids to school in the morning, and they were discussing possible substitute teachers for my daughter’s class. My son mentioned that it might be our neighbor across the street, Mrs. McDonald. He then immediately got the giggles. “Whose husband’s name is Ronald,” he laughed. (It actually is…. we’ve mistakenly gotten their mail before.)
My daughter didn’t get it.
“You know!” My son continued. “Ronald McDonald!”
My daughter remained oblivious.
“You know! Ronald McDonald! From McDonalds!” One last valiant effort to make his sister “get it.”
She still, really, didn’t get it. My six-year-old daughter had no idea who Ronald McDonald was.
Words cannot express how unbelievably excited I was at that moment. All my attempts to keep my kids from advertising, which seem to be rapidly crumbling the older they get, have, apparently, made a difference.
Now, I do think that if you gave my daughter a picture of Ronald McDonald, she would likely know who he was affiliated with. And she definitely recognizes the “Golden Arches.” But the fact that she didn’t know his name is a fact I will hold near and dear to my heart for a long time.
I think we’re starting to think we’re immune to the lure of the ad, since they’re everywhere. We think we’re “above” that, and not affected by them anymore. It comes down to this, though: usually, if you don’t know something exists, you don’t want it.
I’m sure an argument could be made for “I could really use a [insert made-up useful item here],” but for the most part, no one wants something until that little seed of desire is planted in the back of their mind. And then it grows. I like that…I could use that….I want that….I need that.
I don’t know how much longer I can shield my kids from that creeping desire for “more” that ads give, but I’m not giving up without a fight.