MANDALUYONG City, Oct. 14, 2013—Bribery and corruption are learned not when a person reaches adulthood, but at a tender age and parents should make sure they are not the first ones to bribe their kids, a priest said.

“You need to bribe your child whom you send to school just to study. [You say], ‘Come on, if you pass [your exam], I’ll bring you to Jollibee.’ That’s why the child grows up used to bribery,” Msgr. Bong Lo, LRMS, chaplain of the Chapel of the Eucharistic Lord, said in a recent homily at the EDSA Shrine.

Starting kids on bribery

Addressing the parents attending the mass, Msgr. Lo said, children should be taught gratitude that they even get to go to school at all, considering the millions of kids who want to go to school, but whose parents cannot support their education.

This seemingly harmless practice, he explained, is carried over onto the child’s day to day routine as well, sending a clear message that bribery is just how the world works.

“[Parents say,] ‘Come on, take a bath already, then I’ll give you some chocolate…Please brush your teeth, then I’ll give you candy,” Msgr. Lo described.

He said the Gospel passage of the faithful servant, who did what he was supposed to do, not expecting any reward, should be the mindset and attitude parents should instill in their children.

Cheating on exams, stealing

For his part, Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani said, ‘small’ inclinations for corruption, if left unchecked, will advance into greater acts of cheating now considered common among Filipino youth.

During a recent homily at the San Fernando De Dilao parish in Paco, Manila, Bishop Bacani called on students to start weeding out the practice of cheating on exams.

“Students, let’s start…When you have exams, don’t cheat. You might say, ‘That’s just a small thing.’ But that’s where corruption starts,” he explained.

Bishop Bacani, who was mainly talking to students from the Paco Catholic School, also told them to guard themselves against the temptation of pilfering even just loose change from their parents’ wallets or stealing from the family-owned sari-sari store when they are asked to man it.

He said, their parents may not see them, but God always does. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]