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Subject: "Things your parents did right AND wrong…" Previous topic | Next topic
BlakStaar
Member since May 29th 2002
754 posts
Mon Nov-19-18 04:02 PM

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"Things your parents did right AND wrong…"
Mon Nov-19-18 04:08 PM by BlakStaar

  

          

I’ve been thinking a lot about my upbringing and how that affects me today. I’m in my 30s and I’m being forced to confront whether I want to be a mom and how I might raise my child.

All of this brings me to how my mother raised me. She wasn't what I’d call “progressive” because she’s was/still is a bit homophobic, etc., but in hindsight, she was fairly progressive in some areas, especially for a stereotypical Black parent.

What did your parents get right that you are doing now, or will do when you have kids? What are you doing that they didn’t do?

THE BAD, aka things my mom did that I won’t be repeating if I have kids:

1) Not encouraging my creativity. We had the money but I had to beg my mom for dance and music lessons for months, and in some cases, years. I don’t feel like a real creative but I am the most creative/left-of-center person in my family. My creativity was not fostered like I wish it had been.
2) Being weird about sex - I ain’t even gonna elaborate.
3) Discouraging me from working in college - Not only was I told, “You need to focus on school,” when I explored a securing a part-time position off campus but I received very few funds for food, entertainment, toiletries, etc. Enter: credit cards. Dammit!
4) Bad mouthing the other parent. She did this with my father, while simultaneously telling me to spend time with him and to not be irritated with him for good reason. Of course, her disgust for him was perpetually on display… #DoAsISayNotAsIDo
5) Not having a competitive attitude about education - I probably regret this the most. It’s tricky, though. My mom DID care about education; she just wasn’t as competitive as I thought she should be. Now, my older sister was in a Montessori, and when we were still living in the city and watching the local school system go downhill, she enrolled her in a local private school because she could afford it. We moved to the ‘burbs mainly for better public schools when it was time for me to enter elementary school. Now, what’s the problem? I wasn’t enrolled in foreign language soon enough and I wasn’t on the competitive track, initially. Although I was a good student and made Honor Roll, I wasn’t necessarily a great student. I wish I was pushed harder. My mom did not research the curriculum; she just assumed I was good because she had too much faith in the school system. Most of them white folks didn’t care especially as the district became more diverse. I took some corrective action in high school and got my ass in honors and AP, and eventually a moderately competitive college. By contrast, my childhood best’s friend father was giving my friend supplemental reading material, challenging teachers, making sure she was in the competitive classes, if qualified, etc.
6) Not encouraging me to save money from an early age although she was mad frugal, smart and savvy with her money. It’s funny, my sister and I had those Coca-Cola-shapped piggy banks but I think my stepdad got those for shits and giggles. I received a little financial literacy but not enough.
7) Spoiling me... a bit too much - I’m the youngest, biologically speaking, and boy do I act like it…I wince when I think about the amount of money my mom spent on me compared to my older sister and younger cousin, who she practically adopted was I was about 13. Whew!

THE GOOD

1) Not being the stereotypical Black mama who is stern for no particular reason. My mom was very loving. I didn’t deal with verbal abuse or any other form of abuse growing up.
2) Little-to-no spanking. I got tapped a few times in elementary school, but generally, my mom was not into physical discipline.
3) Not taking away my computer when others insisted. I became a bit withdrawn in my teens and began spending more time on the ‘net. Some insisted she revoke my Internet access but she knew this was the only way or one of the few ways I could gather information about topics I cared about circa the early aughts, e.g. Natural hair, indie music
4) Being open to mental health - My mom did not hesitate to explore therapy options for me when I was teen. Mental health was not stigmatized in my household.
5) Not forcing me to go to church -This is major because I grew up going to church twice a week. Once I decided Christianity was not for me around 13, my desire to go to church ceased. She was/is disappointed but she decided to focus her on energy on other matters and I am grateful for it.
6) Respecting my body autonomy/personal lifestyle choices as I become more informed about food/products - She didn’t “get” my foray into natural living/vegetarianism but she still respected it. As a teen, she took me to health food stores or gave me money so I could buy what I couldn’t find at Kroger/Meijer, etc.
7) Enrolling me in summer programs in the city with majority Black students - My family moved from the city to the ‘burbs when I was starting elementary school. Being in the city with my dad on the weekends and in the summer gave me a diverse experience. It also helped me deal with suddenly being around white kids all day after spending my formative years in a predominately Black environment.
8) Encouraging literacy. She's a big reader and I'm a big reader. I remember many trips to the library and bookstore growing up.
9) Not sheltering my sister, cousin and I too much. She's mad religious but we could still watch cable and listen to the radio.

--
"Music is not to be possessed; it's to be shared.” - James Mtume

"Just stay loose, keep it raw, and bang ya drums out sometimes." - Madlib

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
Couple of things that are still very much confusing
Nov 19th 2018
1
I am struggling with this also..
Nov 21st 2018
5
      Man, my mom moved back to the hood to try and save it
Nov 21st 2018
6
A few thing
Nov 19th 2018
2
Great post......for next week. Too much going on getting ready for Tgivi...
Nov 19th 2018
3
Great post! Good outweighs Bad
Nov 20th 2018
4
Two items I considered but didn't:
Dec 04th 2018
7
Interesting. As a dude I was never interested in the fly girls
Dec 05th 2018
8
RE: Interesting. As a dude I was never interested in the fly girls
Dec 05th 2018
9
I battle with this now with both my son and daughter.
Dec 05th 2018
10
      I so happy I didn’t have a daughter...
Dec 05th 2018
14
           it baffles me when folks say that.
Dec 05th 2018
15
                why does it baffle you?
Dec 05th 2018
16
                     I wanted a boy too.
Dec 05th 2018
17
things my mom did right...
Dec 05th 2018
11
Im not sure I can see any wrong...
Dec 05th 2018
12
RE: Im not sure I can see any wrong...
Dec 05th 2018
13
let me give it a shot
Dec 05th 2018
18

Tw3nty
Member since Jan 02nd 2007
8284 posts
Mon Nov-19-18 04:18 PM

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1. "Couple of things that are still very much confusing"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

My dad escaped his hood, traveled abroad, survived Vietnam and had a 6 figure salary all of childhood, yet raised us kids in the hood during the height of the 80's crack epidemic in DC. We could have been outside the city in the suburbs for the same price. I've seen shit as a kid that I probably should never have seen or been around.
Yet he encouraged me to do well in school and exposed me to a ton of stuff outside our neighborhood. I even got to go to Space Camp in Houston. I really don't think he was trying to do some clever dichotomy shit with my education vs my environment. My parents still live in the same house and I just don't see why that area was ever attractive to them. I don't see myself going back to any distressed areas now that I'm an adult with kids.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

  

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Lil Rabies
Member since Oct 12th 2005
1478 posts
Wed Nov-21-18 03:27 PM

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5. "I am struggling with this also.."
In response to Reply # 1


  

          

just told my son about the time I almost got snuffed to make sure he understands that shit is real for the techniques he is learning in karate: someone may actually try to choke you out. Told him I would never place him in such an environment. Granted my Dad was a capital G, and the guy who risked jail to save me knew this, but the people who attacked me weren't from our neighborhood. No matter much of a lion you are, the jungle is still the damn jungle for lion cubs. My mom is STILL in the hood to this day.

Seen enough to eye you/
But I've seen too much to try you

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
58260 posts
Wed Nov-21-18 04:06 PM

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6. "Man, my mom moved back to the hood to try and save it"
In response to Reply # 5


          

She definitely had a positive impact but couldn’t understand it.

Now I’m seeing people from her hood that I grew up with who also live in Charlotte and are on some “sooo glad I made it out” but they always go back for football games because their HS team is an NFL factory.

Some people love the hood. I kinda get it. Maybe it’s a comfort zone for some.

shut up already, damn

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
58260 posts
Mon Nov-19-18 04:25 PM

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2. "A few thing"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Bad:
kids at a young age
No plan after the steel mills closed
Bars... Partying. My parents did a lot of partying. A lot.
Weed.. they smoked it, sold it, grew it. I used to play with the weed seeds when I was 4.
Raised us to trust people. The world is too cold to trust someone’s words. It’s e action.
Smoking cigarettes around us. That’s foul.


Good:
Education. They valued it. My mom went back to college AFTER I graduated HS.

They loved me, gave me confidence and encouraged me to try anything I wanted.

Traveling. We didn’t go out of the country but we made road trips fun as hell. Shit, when the city got new buses we road them downtown like it was a field trip. We always hit the road in the summer time and my mom made sure we went to family out of town to make sure we were comfortable being away from home.

Weed. It was around so much as a kid it wasn’t a big deal in my teens. Didn’t even try it until college.




shut up already, damn

  

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FLUIDJ
Member since Sep 18th 2002
40254 posts
Mon Nov-19-18 08:23 PM

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3. "Great post......for next week. Too much going on getting ready for Tgivi..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

to really get into this one....



"Get ready....for your blessing....."

  

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Mori
Charter member
3189 posts
Tue Nov-20-18 06:17 AM

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4. "Great post! Good outweighs Bad"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Nov-20-18 06:18 AM by Mori

          

Raised by mom, aunts, grandmoms

Good
- Mom was progressive, cultural and taught me independence.
- She was Wakanda before Wakanda. So we always saw black beauty first.
- She put me in every activity, even if she had to barter. From karate, book clubs, girl scouts, 4-H, to cheerleading band and dance clubs. She never said no to fun.
- Travel, been to Africa, Europe and all over the US from 4 years old
- Love for all people. My mom was anti-bougie. She had friends in the projects and friends with million dollar homes.

Bad
- Men, no good role models for men. I saw her get abused, embarrassed, assaulted and rejected. Never got better. I notice my relationships follow a similar pattern.
-Money, she had no long term financial plan for herself or for me. This taught me to work hard but I had to unlearn struggle mentality.
- Risk taking- We lived in the same hood until we were forced out, into a really bad neighborhood. I think, had my mom taken a risk with her life, she would be alive today. That neighborhood was so impoverished and sped up her death.

Overall, I had a great mother and I didn't really appreciate her until recently. Parenting is tremendously hard, with so many judgements and America is very anti family, anti single mom and anti black. So she fought against all those forces and I am proud of what I turned out to be.

Rise & Shine
Thrive & Grind
Heart & Mind

  

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BlakStaar
Member since May 29th 2002
754 posts
Tue Dec-04-18 11:09 PM

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7. "Two items I considered but didn't:"
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Dec-04-18 11:10 PM by BlakStaar

  

          

* Not keeping me looking cute as a child/stressing the importance of keeping oneself up.
* Not telling me I had to be "twice as good."

I often resent the first bullet. I go back and forth on the second bullet. On one hand, I got to be human and be occasionally mediocre without the weight of being preoccupied about white folks/systemic structures working against me. On the other hand, I probably would have performed better in school/earlier in my career. My mom wasn't even being deliberate or intentional by not telling me I had to twice as good; she just never thought to tell me likely because she's not very competitive. See my original post about how seriously (or not-so-seriously ) she approached my education.

Now, back to the first point: none of the women in my family are particularly "sharp" or "fly." It's mostly average/conventional women who are Plain Janes or followers when it comes to style and fashion. My mother and I started wearing lipstick around the same time (!). One of us was about to turn 30, the other one was about to turn 65.

Now, you don't need to wear makeup to keep yourself up, but for me, the period I started wearing lipstick marked a time when I began putting more effort in my physical appearance than ever before. I'm really into that now but it's still a struggle and I have plenty of "off" days. I wish this vanity thing was instilled into me during my youth. There were times I tried to look cute and keep my hair done during my preteen years but my mom would not cooperate. She had the money but wouldn't let me get my hair done, AND she did NOT know how to do hair! Arggghhh!! I remember she once said that her own hair probably did not look all that good but that she didn't care.

Hmpf.

As a little girl, my hair generally was not done for school pictures and the teachers at my pre-school/kindergarden/ K-5 summer school program could always tell if I was staying with my dad and stepmom, or my biological mom that particular week. I'd hear them talk about it cause they were gossipy Black women. LOL.

In college, I looked a hot mess for, like, 85 percent of the time. I just found one of my old college IDs. WTF?

What kills me is that my mom got on me for having a wrinkly shirt last year, but it's like, you didn't seem to care about my clothes when I was a little girl. The nerve!

One one hand, I appreciate not being raised by a vain woman because it taught me not to be superficial. I don't judge plain or frumpy women the way some of my peers do. On the other hand, I feel inconvenienced by what I've had to learn over the past few years. Still trying to figure out my style and shit.

Anyway, being a little vain and putting effort into how I present myself is important to me. It's not about attracting a partner because I'm even interested in dating right now. I just like feeling good and confident when I walk out the door. I love feeling "put together."

--
"Music is not to be possessed; it's to be shared.” - James Mtume

"Just stay loose, keep it raw, and bang ya drums out sometimes." - Madlib

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
58260 posts
Wed Dec-05-18 09:19 AM

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8. "Interesting. As a dude I was never interested in the fly girls"
In response to Reply # 7


          

they were nice to look at but always seemed so preoccupied with their look that they never had fun or wanted to let loose.

Even in college I never liked the Whitley Gilbert types who were dressed up and had in tons of makeup. I was all about the Bohos.. lol.

and the dudes who were always super clean and fashioned up were slightly off IMO.

Nothing wrong with looking fly but I prefer comfort and function.

shut up already, damn

  

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BlakStaar
Member since May 29th 2002
754 posts
Wed Dec-05-18 09:30 AM

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9. "RE: Interesting. As a dude I was never interested in the fly girls"
In response to Reply # 8


  

          

Yeah, the key is balance. Take pride in your appearance but don’t be obsessed and take forever to get ready in the morning and overspend on clothes, hair, etc. I strive to be a low-medium maintenance woman and I still value comfort. You will not see me in high heels unless it’s a special occasion.

One of main concerns is hair. If my hair ain’t done, everything’s off. I don’t care about clothes as much but I finally reached a point where realized I needed more than three pairs of shoes. I wore the same pair of sneakers to school in jr./high school damn near every. single. day.

--
"Music is not to be possessed; it's to be shared.” - James Mtume

"Just stay loose, keep it raw, and bang ya drums out sometimes." - Madlib

  

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tariqhu
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13839 posts
Wed Dec-05-18 09:58 AM

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10. "I battle with this now with both my son and daughter."
In response to Reply # 7


          

I've never wanted them to be so fresh and so clean for their day to day activities. you're kids, who cares....to a degree. we've taught them to not put so much emphasis on their appearance because your character is way more important.

as the father, particularly for my daughter, I try not to put that beauty pressure onto her in the house. she'll get plenty of that everywhere else. I don't want the 'pretty girl' thing to have a negative effect on her healthy self-esteem. home should be a safe haven away from the heavy influences of society.

however, she's gotten to the point of simply not caring. she's in 9th grade and didn't care how she looked on picture day. our fault for not realizing it was picture day. I could've talked her into doing better with her afro and attire. but nope, she comes home and tells us it that it was picture day. I was disappointed in how she presented herself. she's 14. she needs to start caring more about her appearance. however, she's happy with who she is and its pretty hard to argue against that.

my son is only 9, so this isn't a real thing yet. however, he's growing his hair, but doesn't want to do the maintenance. he, nor my daughter, take picks with them to groom throughout the day.

its frustrating at times.

nah, you trippin

  

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Trinity444
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Wed Dec-05-18 10:56 AM

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14. "I so happy I didn’t have a daughter..."
In response to Reply # 10


  

          

I don’t know, I’ve always been confident going rouge because I know how to get fly. Maybe it’s the same with your daughter lol

  

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tariqhu
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Wed Dec-05-18 12:22 PM

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15. "it baffles me when folks say that."
In response to Reply # 14
Wed Dec-05-18 12:23 PM by tariqhu

          

I've always wanted a daughter. she's amazing! definitely has her quirks, but honestly, she's really easy.

I don't make a big deal out of her being a daughter. I don't see her as curse or payback for my past.

she'll figure it out. she's just being a teen. when we do father daughter dances, she's dope and enjoys all the girly stuff. the good part is that she thinks she's dope on both sides.

which basically means this is my issue lol, not hers.

nah, you trippin

  

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Trinity444
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Wed Dec-05-18 12:49 PM

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16. "why does it baffle you? "
In response to Reply # 15


  

          

It’s not a negative thing. just apply your, “I’ve always wanted a girl” to me wanting a boy.


  

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tariqhu
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Wed Dec-05-18 12:58 PM

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17. "I wanted a boy too."
In response to Reply # 16


          

fortunately I got both. I wanted the girl first and it happened that way.

normally when folk say that don't want a girl, its for negative reasons. they don't wanna deal with 'girl' things like proms, dealing with boyfriends, periods, talking with them about sex. all things that I welcome since I'm trying to raise independent thinkers that contribute to society.

with that said, I may take it too seriously when I hear it. maybe folks say it in jest. but it just kinda bothers me. at the end of it, I'm sure we're all happy getting what we got.

nah, you trippin

  

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tariqhu
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Wed Dec-05-18 10:32 AM

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11. "things my mom did right..."
In response to Reply # 0


          

- put me into schools that were outside of my neighborhood. basically just exposing me to folks things/people that were diff than my immediate area.

- she was a straight shooter, so watching her gave me that superpower of not being afraid to speak my mind. her style is a lot more brash. I tend to finesse my words a bit differently and still make my point.

- exposed me to a lot of my family. I'm an only child, but my mom is popular in the fam because of her brash, but funny nature.

things I wished were better...

- more emphasis on expanding my view. hers was pretty limited. in turn, I didn't think much about widening my worldview til well into adulthood. she's from a small spot in Alabama. Coming to Atlanta, pretty much on her own with a baby, was likely her own version of growing.

- no teachings of financial literacy. I had a car before she did. she was never really keen on how to handle money/credit. again, learned myself as an adult. never talked about scholarships or paying for school. making sure to teach my kids while they're kids.

- the previous two points also speak to this issue. she was never really able to make any real money. she got menial jobs that kept the lights on....most times. she was never on a career track or able to move from being an hourly, blue collar type employee.

- never pushed me to try sports. I was generally in out of district schools, so there may have been logistic issues involved since we had no car. or maybe she just couldn't afford it.




nah, you trippin

  

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Trinity444
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Wed Dec-05-18 10:44 AM

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12. "Im not sure I can see any wrong..."
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

for me, it’s different when you grew up surrounded by poverty
My mother did they best she could

  

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BlakStaar
Member since May 29th 2002
754 posts
Wed Dec-05-18 10:49 AM

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13. "RE: Im not sure I can see any wrong..."
In response to Reply # 12


  

          

Respect.

--
"Music is not to be possessed; it's to be shared.” - James Mtume

"Just stay loose, keep it raw, and bang ya drums out sometimes." - Madlib

  

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mista k5
Member since Feb 01st 2006
8328 posts
Wed Dec-05-18 04:25 PM

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18. "let me give it a shot"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

i think they both worked hard. i always appreciated that. i have respect for anyone that puts effort into their work, regardless of the task. i also never want to have to work so hard physically as i saw the wear it put on them.

my dad enjoyed life a lot. thats something i strive towards but fall short on due to being so introverted. his love for music definitely passed on to me. especially live music.

moms is more of a hang your head and get through things type. no matter the situation she would fight through and put that smile on. she had to deal with a lot. im far from perfect but the respect i try to show women comes from seeing her have to deal with the lack of it. she sacrificed so much for her family, always putting us all before herself. a lot of people describe me as selfless, that definitely comes from her.

they both found humor in any situation, that stuck with me.

they were very hands off as far as rules go. i dont ever remember a dont do drugs or drink speech. i always got the impression they didnt want us to but they werent going to force us to stay away. for the most part my siblings and i have lived a clean life. we did have to watch them both deal with lack of control so that probably had an impact on us.

they always encouraged my creativity and interests.

i dont know if they could had done something to help me from being so socially awkward. it would had been nice to not have to move around every year or so.

i think i maybe could had used more discipline. i was never much trouble but maybe having a stricter chore schedule would had benefited me.

better money management would had been great.

i think they did the best they could. i did have some resentment for my dad around graduating from high school but it didnt last long. i think we would have good convos when i was in college and he was always encouraging.

  

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