The phrase “to those whom much has been given, more is required,” is best known for its origin in the Bible.
I think it applies to cereal, too — specifically, Cheerios — and we’ll get to that connection in a minute.
But let’s think about Cheerios first. It’s one of the strongest brands around. Its no-nonsense black serif font on the plain yellow box is iconic. The circular shape is basic, pure and often imitated. Its ingredients include whole grain oats and just one gram of sugar. Nearly every off- and store-brand has made a knock-off version and given it a similar name. The taste is simple and unchanged virtually since the beginning, unless you count the explosion of its flavored offspring, such as Reduced-Fat-Yogurt-Berry-Blast-Cinnamon-Coated-Sprinkle Cheerios (seriously, do we need this much variety?).
I would argue that Cheerios has been in every American home at least one point in time since its inception, and I doubt many brand names can proclaim that. We eat it. We make snack mixes with it. We feed it to babies. We feed it to birds. We make crafts with it. We give it to kids in church to keep them quiet. We string it on Christmas trees. We love it. We trust it. Its wholesome. It sticks on noses (try doing that with Kix). It’s certified by the American Heart Association! It’s genius!
It’s just plain…perfect!
Or is it?
Their marketing folks nearly had me at hello, but as I went further into their website, discovered that it’s Mom’s Choice. And that’s when I started thinking about the phrase, “to those whom much has been given, more is required.”
You see, we’ve made Cheerios a part of our lives and trusted it for years, and I always thought it was a decently mutual relationship: General Mills kept making it, we kept eating it and everyone was happy. But then they started saying that it’s the cereal which mom’s choose, and dads instantly became alienated and left out. More should be required of one of the top cereals around. They’re supposed to be an example for everyone else. Do you ever see the NFL say, “It’s the sports league more dads watch with their boys than any other”?
Cheerios, I thought you were better than this. We’ve all given you so much, and more should be required.
I have the last box I’ll ever buy in my cupboard, and I’m not even going to eat it.
But the birds will.