Tales from Inside the Cubicle


“Teacher, please repeat?”

Tears were already streaming down his cheeks. His eyes were already red. This little boy couldn’t help but cry. His eyes were still fighting the tears. His lips, a crooked smile, were fighting the helplessness. He doesn’t want to give up, but it was too darn hard.

I was just there. Staring. Poker faced but at the back of my head I was urging him on. I know he can do it. He is already crying but I know sympathizing with him or shushing him would just be admitting defeat. After all, did not realize that he already answered the same question pattern a while ago. He had the words for it, he just needs to remember. I’ll just hug him afterwards. In the meantime, I’ll let him struggle for control, even if he cries some more.

When you cannot process it anymore, you can’t help but just cry.


“WHAT IS OUR RULE?” I said in the most poker-faced low voice I could muster.

“Posture. No touching other people.” The huge boy replied.


anb021This young man was smiling while warning himself. His eyes were obviously trying to fight the frustration. I just reprimanded him for grabbing another person’s hand without their consent and moving in uncomfortably close to another person.

He was not tearing up like the first boy. Not this one. He was fighting to control his frustration by being the sunshine he already is. He did it with laughter and that giddy smile. He couldn’t keep his posture right as he kept on moving around in obvious agitation. He was trying to compose himself but he just couldn’t get over that fact that he made a serious mistake.

Smile when you just cannot help but make a mistake.


In all those instances, I couldn’t get angry. I know that it is hard to control yourself when you know you made a mistake. I know it is difficult to compose yourself when things have already gotten out of hand. These kids were showing the internal struggle each of us were having.

All of us, consciously or unconsciously struggle for control. We couldn’t help but want to have a say in all areas of our lives. It is our life after all.

As employees, we want to have our best work possible – the best write up, the best report, the best presentation, the best attitude and the best impression. We want to show that we are a good employee – at least good enough for a raise or promotion.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn relationships, we want our partners to be in sync with our lives – preferences, and decisions. We want no arguments and no discussions on who has the last say – even if it means sacrifice on their part.

In the house, if you are parents, you want your kids to stay in line, do not get hurt or harmed. If you are kids, you want your parents to get off your back and allow you to explore.

To yourself, you want to be a good person. You do not want enemies. You want to make sure that your wants and needs are met. You want to be secured. You want to be good. You follow the laws and make sure that you do it to be show the good person that you are.

The fact is you are not good enough to control everything. Our propensity for sinfulness makes us fall down every time. We are sinful. We all are. No exceptions. Mother Theresa? The pope? Your pastor? Your president? Your parents? They were never in control. They may embody our own perceptions of goodness or at least some of them do. But the fact remains that they were sinful too.

Since we always seem to fight a losing battle, we are condemned to suffer the consequences of our actions. God warns us about it. He tells us that such a place called “hell” is waiting for us at the end of the road if we keep on sin’s path.

We are doomed that way. We cannot control ourselves, how else do we expect to control other things around us?

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:23

There is hope actually, but let’s leave that for another day.


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