Friday, June 12, 2009

Selling Out

After ripping on McDonald's yesterday, I'm here to admit that I'm a complete hypocrite.

Ethically, I think McDonald's reach into schools is wrong. Ronald McDonald visits, shows and reading programs all introduce very young children to the "wonders" of McDonald's. And I have a problem with that because while my children (occasionally) eat McDonald's, bringing the restaurant into the school makes it that much harder for parents who would prefer to keep their kids Mickey D and fast food-free. Heck, it makes it harder for those of us who wish to limit our McDonald's consumption to sometimes, special treats.

That said....the McDonald's reading records that my sons received at daycare earlier this week are working wonders. Boy #3, age 6, has started learning how to read and is really getting it.

Boy #2, age 8, who has previously shown very little interest in reading, has decided to get with the program also. Last night, after his bath and all by himself, he came downstairs and plowed through 10 easy readers. Then he came up to show me what he'd done. I'm not sure what's motivating him more: the fact that his little brother is learning to read or the McDonald's Happy Meal. Either way, I'll take it.

So yes -- I am selling out my convictions. While I'm morally opposed to McDonald's interference in education, I will show up at McDonald's tomorrow with two readers and two certificates good for two Happy Meals.

And you know what? If daycare gives me more certificates, I might even do it again.

Quick note: Got a kid who loves construction? If you do, be sure to swing by Gina Chen's Family Life blog. (She featured my blog back in April.) Enter her contest and you could win 4 construction books.


  1. I like your honesty. I agree, I think Mc Donalds is a special treat, not the kind of food I want my kids to eat every day. I also see that your sons are motivated. What a dilemma. i guess their marketing strategies are brilliant.

  2. I'm here via Pdtoler -- glad she sent me! I think you're right to do anything you can to encourage your boys' reading. My son can count on both hands the books he's read and enjoyed. He doesn't read for pleasure, but luckily some assigned reading has resonated with him - but not much - he's going into his Senior year of high school. He does read a lot of sports articles on and off line -- so don't discount all kinds of reading - comic books, magazines, even websites. Reading is reading.

    But a Happy Meal sounds good to me. (shh!)

  3. Gutsy Writer -- I'd say their marketing strategies are brilliant! There's a McD's just over the hill from where we live, meaning we see it when we go just about anywhere. Every single one of my kids commented on the golden arches look like French fries -- when they were two!

    Amy Sue -- Glad you found us. And sorry your son doesn't enjoy reading more. I agree, though -- ANY kind of reading is good. I've been reading some studies about boys and reading, and far more so than girls, they tend to gravitate toward the kind of non-fiction material you mention.

  4. I completely understand how you could be torn in a situation like this. Most of us would do anything and try anything to get our kids to read, but finding a way to balance McDonalds' foray into encouraging literacy with the horrible fat, salt, and caloric content of their foods can be a bit of a challenge. I always just tell my son that Mickey D's is ok every once in a while, but I also try to show him the value of reading for himself and not just for food. I also do offer him other rewards for reading, too, ones that don't affect his cholesterol level! Nevertheless, I think it's just like everything else: moderation is key.

  5. Nuh. McDonalds is rubbish. I know I will take my kids there one day but I will feel dirty.

  6. Interesting!

    I feel like there is a scarcity of good marketing today. Good marketing means which can convert the leads into sales. The only marketing that has moved me in the last couple of years is Social Media Optimization.