I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness so I had to deal with all the issues of not celebrating holidays at school. I took this pretty seriously and was pretty vocal every time something came up that violated my religious beliefs.
Yet, it seems that there are always gray areas.
One day, my teacher announced that we would be making birthday cards for McDonalds. I don't remember which birthday it was except that it was a round number. The local McDonalds would display the birthday cards and the local school would get some free publicity.
My first thought was that I would like to get out of that task. Then I thought about it some more and realized that it wasn't really a birthday. It was an anniversary. Anniversaries were enjoyed by my family and my congregation and were considered acceptable. It wasn't until I was older that I discovered that some Witnesses also had problems with anniversaries.
I was tempted to use my religion as an excuse to get out of this, but I decided that would be inappropriate. I made the card.
However, I still resented having to make the card for nonreligious reasons. I knew it was just busy work. I also didn't like McDonalds. A childhood encounter with a bad hamburger made me violently sick and generally suspicious of fast food restaurants for several years. There were items at McDonalds I could eat, but it wasn't much fun for me.
I decided to satisfy my conflicting emotions by making an irreverent card.
It said, "Happy Anniversary! This card contains five dollars and some advice to help your business."
Inside the card it said, "The advice is don't spend too much time looking for the five dollars."
I was pleased with myself. I felt like I had successfully overcome another challenge to my integrity and even had some fun in the process.
After school, I told my mom about the incident. I thought she would appreciate the humor and they way I handled a difficult situation. I terrified expression came over her face and she said, "That's awful!"
She never clarified what was awful about my story. In particular, I wasn't sure if it would have made things better or worse if I had made a nicer card.
I learned some valuable lessons that day. You can't please everybody and it often better to just not let others know what you have done. When you follow the dictates of your own conscience, there will probably be others who see things differently.