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Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians, which we call Scribit Veritas.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.


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Transitioning to Parenthood


When couples become parents, marital satisfaction often declines (1)(2). Research has found several factors that influence this transition’s outcome. For one, a baby brings more household responsibilities and a new area of childcare responsibilities. “It is not the unequal division of labor, but rather the perceived fairness of the division that is most strongly associated with relationship satisfaction” (2)(1). For two, spousal support is also a factor. Predictive of marital satisfaction, spousal support is especially significant “during the transition to parenthood as couples consider their spouses a primary source of support” (2). When couples have similar parenting attitudes and expectations of what it will be like once they are parents and between what they actually experience, marital satisfaction is greater (1).

Couples co-parenting is an extension of their “marital relationship to include interactions centered on their child.” Higher competitive co-parenting is related to a decline in fathers’ marital satisfaction and when mothers support of their spouses’ parenting decreased, so does their marital quality (3). “A lack of preparedness for the baby and the strain and conflict created by role negotiation” can lead to a decrease in marital satisfaction; and “when there are discrepancies between women’s expectations for their partners and their actual post-birth experiences, women exhibit poorer adjustment to parenthood and lower levels of marital satisfaction” (1).

So what can couples do?

  • Be deliberate when negotiating the roles of being new parents (1)
    • Decide who will take care of what household tasks. Take time to reevaluate how things are going as family circumstances change (4).
    • Share childcare responsibilities. Allow the father to spend as much time caring for the baby as he can. Discuss your parenting values and concerns together (4).
  • Make sure you communicate clearly with one another. Let your spouse know your needs and feelings and strive to work together to make things better for one another (4).
  • Balance work and parenting (4).
  • Work on developing a strong, stable marital relationship before children are born.

In short, try to keep realistic expectations for yourself and your spouse before and after the baby arrives (1); and always do your best to support one another in your parenting efforts (2) (3).

For more information see:

1 Adamsons, K. (2013). Predictors of relationship quality during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology, 31(2), 160-171. doi:10.1080/02646838.2013.791919

2 Chong, A., & Mickelson, K. D. (2016). Perceived fairness and relationship satisfaction during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Issues, 37(1), 3-28 26p. doi:10.1177/0192513X13516764

3 Christopher, C., Umemura, T., Mann, T., Jacobvitz, D., & Hazen, N. (2015). Marital quality over the transition to parenthood as a predictor of coparenting. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 24(12), 3636-3651. doi:10.1007/s10826-015-0172-0

4 Berk, Laura (2010). Infants, Children, and Adolescents, 7th ed. Boston, MA.

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What Children Really Need – Part 3

This is part three to the posts explaining what children really need. Click here for part 1 and here for part 2.


Each child has the right to a posterity.

“It is natural for each person to want to create progeny and to live into the future through them. This is each child’s destiny. Propaganda against the building of families is a direct assault on this destiny.”

Each child has the right to faith.

“Religious families better protect their children physically and psychologically when compared to families which reject religious faith.” Research shows that religious parents are more likely to use warmth and express emotional work with their children; and they are also more likely to protect their teens from premarital sex. For these reasons and more we should advocate to protect the freedom to exercise religion.

Families of the same religious faith tend to live near each other in the same neighborhoods. Neighborhoods centered around a religious community often promote the family unit as the cornerstone of a healthy and balanced society. For example, in one study, neighborhoods with a higher number of Christians had lower rates of divorce, abortion, and children born out of wedlock. Even the non-Christians living with a higher population of Christians were less likely to divorce, have an abortion, or have a child out of wedlock. Helping create good, protective neighborhoods, promotes healthy child development. 

Each child has the right to innocence.

By innocence Carlson means “the opportunity to have a true childhood, the chance to mature normally in terms of physical, emotional, and moral development.” There are many threats to children’s innocence these days: war, child labor, media, and ideologically-driven education. The best way to protect children’s innocence is to have them live with their biological parents who are married to one another.

Each child has the right to a tradition.

Tradition ties the living to those who have passed on. It helps individuals remember the life lessons and sacrifice that their ancestors have gone through for them. It gives children emotional stability that helps them survive. Helping preserve traditions, especially during times of distress, helps families stick together and be able to rebuild their homes and families after the struggle has passed.

As individuals, families, communities, and governments choose to help more children receive these rights they divinely deserve, children will be better protected, have a better chance at reaching their optimal development, and be better able to improve their world and provide healthier environments for their own children.

For the full article see:

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What Children Really Need – Part 2

This is part two to the post explaining what children really need (see part 1 here). Below are the next three rights Carlson says children deserve.

Each child has the right to a home built on marriage.


Research has come to the conclusion that

“children are most likely to be healthy, happy, well-behaved, and responsible; most likely to succeed in school and in life; and least likely to be promiscuous, delinquent, or users of alcohol and illegal drugs if they live with their two natural parents who, in turn, are lawfully married.”

A good home is one that puts children at the center of daily life and allows them to help with the household work, where parents are the “prime educators” and start teaching moral values early on, and it allows for appropriate autonomy and authority. Marriage brings a man and a woman together that each bring complementary gifts to the union. One study found that the bonds wives formed with one another in a neighborhood reduced the rate of violent crime. Fathers in the homes of the same neighborhoods were found to protect against out-of-wedlock births. So “a husband and a wife complement each other; each marital partner brings unique talents to the building of a home, so that it becomes greater than the sum of its parts.”

Each child has the right to siblings.

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The growing trend in developed nations is to only have one child.

Siblings are “critically important in shaping for the good the moral and psychological character of children.”

Those who are an only child have been found to be more likely to disrupt the classroom and display more behavior problems in learning, impulsivity, hyperactivity, and anxiety. Sibling relationships are also the longest blood relationship that people can experience. These attachments keep growing over the years if they are given the opportunity to occur through the birth of a sibling.

Each child has the right to ancestors.

Image result for kids siblings parents cousins grandparents

Children who know about their ancestors have a greater sense of “emotional wholeness and personal security.” It also helps them develop a sense of purpose and meaning to life if they are connected to their ancestors, their living family, and their future descendants. Children love to hear and share family stories, so we should tell our children stories from our own past and stories from our ancestors’ lives.

Though research supports that children benefit from siblings, married parents and a connection to extended family, parents sometimes have contrary views.

What do you think about the “rights” of children listed above?

For the full article see:

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What Children Really Need – Part 1

best-parent-is-both-parents-billboardAllan Carlson has been on the quest to answer the question “How can we protect children in our time?” He has researched in all the different disciplines: sociology, psychology, medicine, child development, and history.

To answer this question, he wrote “What Children Really Need- Another Way to Look at Children’s Rights,” in which he outlines ten articles that state what all children should have the right to. Here are the first two rights children deserve.

1. Each child has the right to a mother.

Though there are many arguments that the differences between genders are insignificant, only women are able to carry a fetus to birth. “Only women can develop the unique hormonal bonds between mother and child mediated by that amazing organ, the placenta… only women can provide that fountain of nurture, giving human babies exactly the nutrition they need when they need it: namely, breast milk.”

Mothers who are devoted and available have children who are less lonely, have less depression, less anxiety, higher self-esteem and more resiliency. The world sees women mainly as an economic value, though, as more women are going to work outside of the home.

We should all “treat motherhood as the most important of vocations… to ensure that the mother-child bond is given priority over short-term economic needs.”

2. Each child has the right to a father.

Fathers “are necessary to the healthy growth of children… A father’s involvement in a child’s life significantly influences three outcomes: economic and educational attainment and avoidance of delinquency.” Fathers are not seen as a priority though as governments provide incentives for out-of-wedlock births, the work environment often pulls fathers away from their families physically and psychologically, and the media portrays fathers as fools.

We need to “protect and celebrate the father-guided family.”

For the full article see:

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Teaching Children to Listen, Admire & Reason


While parents strive for their children to gain knowledge, it is important to consider that teaching them through example is the best way to learn. The three key points in developing a child’s intellect include:

1. Listening

Listening shows respect for the person that is talking. At a young age, children learn to listen through listening to bedtime stories. Comprehension questions about what they have read shows they were paying attention.  When you give instructions as a parent, you might ask the child to repeat back what you have said. Not only does this prove whether or not the child was listening; but it also shows respect. Also, confirm that your child understands what is being said to or asked of them. Asking the child whether or not they understand what they heard is essential. Children can also practice listening skills by listening to music. When children practice listening to song lyrics like The Wheels on the Bus or 5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, they begin to understand that words have meaning. At first, the words to the song may seem arbitrary to the child; but eventually the child comes to understand that the words to the song tell a story. 

2. Admiration

How can a child admire the world around them and the talents of others? By showing children the many talents, works, and beauty of the earth, it teaches them to stop and pause. It makes a child think and appreciate the good things in life. If you take a child to an art museum, what they see in the painting might be different from what you see.  A child might admire a teacher because of the knowledge they receive. A child might admire a parent because the lessons, experiences, and memories that were shown to them.  Children learn the beauty of the earth, if they are shown the beauty of their surroundings, this could be the animals, the mountains, the ocean, and the stars. Over time, children can begin to appreciate things in their lives. For example, your child may appreciate a certain song for its calming effects, or even music in general for the effect it can have on your child’s mood. It is a sense of wonder and mystery to admire through a child’s eyes.

3. Reason

When it comes to reason, children should know the truth. Television does not always show the truth, which can give them a false reality of things. However quality television shows that promote learning and reason are encouraged.  It is important to point out the truth if a lie is shown in the media. Logical thinking can be shown through proper grammar for example.  Give them a reason for why a decision may hurt someone. All of these teach children to think. Keep the child’s age in mind with reasoning. When you show children by example, that is when they are learning.




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*The 3 key points discussed above were originally mentioned in the following article:


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Backwards Parenting


Many spouses talk about what they want their baby to be like when they find out they are expecting. My husband and I did. We talked about how we would like to have a boy first. We even discussed how cute it would be if he had dark hair. But when we ended up having a daughter with light hair and my husband’s features, we couldn’t have imagined a more perfect child. Most parents experience the same feelings when seeing their babies for the first time.

Unfortunately, in our world of modern technology and medicine, many parents now have the ability to special order babies and choose the features they want their children to have, and they are taking advantage of that. A prime example comes from the story of Melissa Cook who chose to be a surrogate for a 50-year-old man. The man chose to have three male embryos implanted but when all three embryos successfully developed, the man wanted one to be aborted because he didn’t want three children (read the full article here). This story is a sad example of the idea that children are there for parents rather than parents for children.  So many children around the world are left unloved and uncared for because they don’t fit the description of a perfect child.

  • Demographers estimate that 126 million women are missing due to gendercide (also called femicide). That is as many deaths as WWI, WWII, and AIDS combined.
  • Every year, we lose 2 million baby girls to sex-selective abortion and infanticide. That’s 4 girls per minute.
  • In the UK alone, every 10 days, a child is killed by his mom or dad

Noting that it is no coincidence that children are unhappiest in countries such as Britain where the “pursuit of individual success and material goods are paramount, and where child poverty levels remain high,” in 2009 the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan said the following:

“Traditional beliefs have been weakened over recent decades and excessive individualism has filled the void.

The quest for personal success and personal happiness is too often gained at the expense of others.”

Dr. Morgan highlighted the findings of the Good Childhood Inquiry, published earlier this year, which concluded that the root cause of children’s problems was Britain’s “me-first” culture. He goes on to say,

“We may all know the real needs of children, but we frequently refuse to recognise that these often come at a personal cost to ourselves and our own needs and desires – be they compromises in our earning capacity or career development, or commitment to and the need to work at a less than ideal relationship…we need a huge change in our thinking. Parenthood should not be embarked on lightly. It is the commitment of two people both to one another and to the child.”

Though having a child can help make someone’s life more fulfilling and full of savor, it’s important for us as parents to remember: our children aren’t here to give us self-gratification.

We, the parents, are here for our children to love, serve, and teach them.

Our society, as well as others around the world, could learn a thing or two about what it takes to be a parent from Dr. Morgan. Policy makers and child healthcare professionals owe it to society to help “teach young people that parenthood is an awesome responsibility that requires both love and self sacrifice from parents committed to the child and to one another.” It’s true that we need to be teaching “these basic concepts as well as parent-craft, in our schools from an early age, particularly to those who have not experienced it first hand, and not simply informing them about the mechanics of a sexual relationship and contraception divorced from the basic concepts of love, responsibility and self-respect.”

For more information

The Roles, Responsibilities and Rights of Parents

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Personal and Family Goal-Setting


With the start of each new year, many people contemplate the goals they want to accomplish. A journal is a great place to write down our goals. There are several different areas in your life in which setting goals would be beneficial to you and your family. Some examples include

  • Education
  • Career
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Attitude
  • Physical
  • Service

Sometimes goals can be stressful or we don’t think we will complete them. If we take it one day at a time we can complete them, we have to also work on them. Education goals could be finishing up school, or starting college. For one of your children, an education goal might be to raise his or her grade point average. Career could mean you want to get promoted, so you could see what you could do to earn that. Switching jobs also might be an option. Financial goals might be to pay off your debt in a certain amount of time, or create an emergency savings account. Psychology today says, “Research shows that actually setting a specific goal makes us more likely to achieve the things we want, and is important especially when we want to make a change.”

Family goals can be things you want for your family to achieve with each member having the opportunity to contribute. The ACPeds Lead Your Family to Good Health page is a good place to start looking for family health goals you may want your family to to beging working on. Examples include

  • Strengthen your family by nurturing your marriage. Invest TIME with your spouse: dates, walks/strolls, talk time, etc. Your child will benefit.
  • Teach good sleep habits by having a regular bedtime routine with a reasonable “lights out” time. No TV in the bedroom, please!
  • Teach and practice healthful family eating habits. Limit fast food. Serve vegetables and fruit at meals and snacks daily. Model healthful eating yourself.
  • Turn the television off often and limit total screen time (TV, video games, computer) to no more than 1-2 hours per day. You’ll be pleased with the conversations that develop.
  • Get outside with your child. Take a walk in the neighborhood, go fishing, go cycling, play a recreational sport, plant a garden . . .
  • Be involved in your child’s life. Coach a team, drive car pool, be a room mom or dad, teach Sunday School, get to know his/her friends . . .
  • Protect your child’s mind. Monitor TV programs, scrutinize movies (even at a friend’s home), and place an Internet filter on your computer.

Attitude goals can include trying not to get upset or angry at your family or  finding more ways you can be nice to your family. If your family does not serve you, you can choose to always be the one to be nice and serve them. This could be making their bed, or doing something to help them out. Physical goals could be to see a specialist to treat your acne, lose weight, get a gym membership, eating healthy, and taking better care of your health. Research shows that having a positive atttitude can have a positive affect on goal achievement.

When it comes to goals, as well as other pursuits in life, we need to have a positive attitude. Aim to always acknowledge the positive sides of things. 

Service goals can be helping your family or those in your community. You can choose to serve others year round. This can also benefit your mood. Writing down how you feel after serving is a great way to see how you made a difference in the community for that year. It is also important to take care of your mental health so consider making mental health goals that can help you better yourself and your family.

Goals are great for the new year, and discussing goals with your spouse and children is a great way to bond.

Be sure to write them down and refer back to when necessary. It’s important that you and your children work toward goals together whenever possible. Not only will it build character and resilience in your children, but the relationships within the family–between spouses, between siblings, and between parent and child–will also grow closer as a result. 

For more information:

Developing the Right Attitude to Support Goal Achievement

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10 Potty Training Tips

potty-trainingPotty training is another milestone in your child’s life. It is important to make sure your child is ready for potty training.

Through this long process it is key that you as a parent remain patient.

Although every child is different, most children are ready to begin toilet training between 2 and 3 years of age. However, parents should never force a child to sit on the potty seat or toilet, which might cause the child to resist being toilet trained. It is very important that parents let the child decide when he is ready; and then parents can encourage his attempts. When your child begins telling you when he is wet or dirty and that his diaper needs to be changed, and he is staying dry for more than 2 – 3 hours, you can encourage his learning by using the following tips.

1. Educate your toddler. Before you start potty training your toddler it is important to educate them. Borrow potty books from the library. Show your child by using the bathroom yourself; and then do a potty dance to show your enthusiasm.

2. Buy a potty seat if you don’t already have one.  You can use a potty seat that fits on the toilet, or a potty chair. There are also portable toilets for toddlers to use when you are out and about.

3. Allow your child to choose big kid pants with his or her favorite character; and ditch the diapers. Continuing to use diapers may only confuse your child at this point. Even pull-ups are a better option because they are different from the diapers which signifies to the child that they must use them differently (i.e., not relieve themselves in them)

4. Use pull ups and mattress covers for night time.

5. Use positive reinforcement. Consider giving your child a positive reward (stickers or toy) for successful attempts. Rewards can really help a child overcome any resistance to toilet learning. Let your child help choose the reward so it is something she will want to earn.

6. Show your child that bowel movements from his diaper go into the toilet. You can let your child flush the toilet as part of his learning.

7. But be careful as some children feel fearful of toilets flushing. Some may think they have “lost” a precious part of them; while others may fear the loud noises a toilet makes. If your child is afraid of the big toilet, get a small size toilet.

8. Don’t get upset with accidents. Instead say to your child, “It’s ok, accidents happen” and clean up the mess. Remind your child to use the bathroom in the morning, before going to bed, and before getting in the car.

9. Be prepared. Always have an extra outfit, and underwear when going out.

10. Leave the rest of the learning up to your child. If you see any resistance, immediately stop talking to your child about any aspect of toileting and wait until she is interested.

Potty training is an entirely new venture for little ones. They’ve just begun to get used to this new world and now they must change everything they once knew about going to the bathroom, an act that is second nature to most adults.  While some parents may be successful at the “diaper free weekend” approach, potty training may take a week, a month or more for some families.

If your child is resisting using the toilet, remember that this is one area of her life that she alone can control. You can never force your child to use the toilet – so it is best to just stop trying! Approximately 75% of children have attained daytime control of their urine and bowel movements between 3 and 4 years of agel, but 25% of children are still not interested in using the toilet.

Be patient with your child and try not to compare him to others. Every child is different and will potty train in his or her own time.

For more information:

2 Year Olds

Potty Training

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Learning to Manage the Family Money


In a sense, today’s culture is all about spending money. We all have to have the newest phone, the designer clothes, and the fastest car. Many people spend more money than they have and the families and marriages suffer because of it. Money issues are the third leading cause of all divorces according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis 1 and research shows that parents can pass bad money habits to their kids.2

The following are good principles and practical ideas to help parents manage the family’s money.

  1. Learn to manage money before it manages you3
    • Learn self-discipline and self-restraint. “Do not confuse wants with needs… If we are not careful, it is easy for our wants to become needs. Remember the line ‘There, there, little luxury, don’t you cry. You’ll be a necessity by and by.’”4
    • Financial peace of mind is not determined by how much we make, but is dependent upon how much we spend.3
    • Heber J. Grant has said: “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means, and if there is any one thing that is grinding, and discouraging and disheartening it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.”4
  1. Use a budget3 (This link is to a budget worksheet)
    • Every family must have a predetermined understanding of how much money will be available each month and the amount to be spent in each category of the family budget.
    • A budget helps you plan and evaluate your expenditures.
    • Budget for a specified period (such as weekly, biweekly, monthly), according to your pay schedule.
    • Balance income with expenditures, and spend less than you earn.
  1. Pay off your debts (This link is to a debt elimination calendar)
    • Once you pay off one debt, use that money to pay off another.
    • Work toward home ownership3
    • Home ownership qualifies as an investment, not consumption. Buy the type of home your income will support.3
  1. Build an emergency fund
    • Start with $1,000 and work towards having enough savings to cover 3-6 months’ worth of expenses.3
    • It is most important to have sufficient medical, automobile, and homeowner’s insurance and an adequate life insurance program.3
  1. Teach your children
    • Fred Gosman has said, “Children who always get what they want will want as long as they live.”4
    • Teach children while they are young the importance of working and earning.
    • Help your children save for their futures (college).
    • Teach children to make money decisions in keeping with their capacities to comprehend.1
      • Based upon appropriate teaching and individual experience, children should be responsible for the financial decisions affecting their own money and suffer the consequences of unwise spending.3
  1. Save for continuing education
    • This is money well invested. Based on potential lifetime earnings, the hours spent in furthering your education will be very valuable indeed.3
    • College tuitions and housings expenses continue to rise. Don’t let college sneak up on you. Saving now will put you ahead of the game when your kids graduate from high school.5
    • Teach your children to save for college.
  1. Be generous in giving and sharing with others
    • C.S. Lewis said: “I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. … If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, … they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”
    • Simply put,

Build wealth, become insanely generous, and leave an inheritance for future generations.5


For more information see:
5 http://www.daveramsey/.com/baby-steps/
Budget worksheet:
Debt elimination calendar:
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Drafting a Family Mission Statement


A mission statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual. Therefore, a family mission statement is a summary of the goals and values of a family. It encapsulates the rights, roles and responsibilities of each family member in addition to the family as a whole. Important features of a family mission statement include

  • brevity: the statement should be precise and concise, getting the basic points across without using too many words
  • values: principles, ethics & standards of parent & child behavior; the important things in life
  • goal: purpose, objective, aim or desired result

“A family mission statement sums up what we believe and how we choose to live, giving clarity to children and parents alike.” – Wendy Speake

When life gets crazy, a family mission statement can act as an anchor that reminds a family where their focus should be. According to the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, a feeling of “connectedness”  with parents was the primary factor that helped protect teens from becoming involved in any high-risk behavior (including drug and alcohol use and sexual activity). A family mission statement can help foster a feeling of connectedness between members, decreasing the liklihood of behavioral problems from kids and marital problems between parents.

Our children and adolescents are listening, especially if we practice what we preach. Drafting a family mission statement can give parents an opportunity to explain and explore values with their children and the best way to do so is for all members to collaborate, from the youngest to the oldest.

Creating a family mission statement is easier said than done and it’s likely the process will take a significant amount of time. If necessary, dedicate a a couple weeks or even a month to having family discussions, jotting down notes, making a draft and finalizing the statement.

The following steps may assist you in drafting your own family mission statement.

  • Have a special family meeting with in depth discussion
    • Questions to ask include
      • What do we value most?
      • What do we need to be doing in order to be our
      • best selves?
      • What do we stand for?
      • What do we want our family to do?
  • Make a list of values and ideas that are important to your family
    • each member should participate in this process
    • examples include
  • Condense list into roughly 10 or fewer ideas that are most significant
  • Write out your statement, proofread & make final edits
  • Finalize and hang family mission statement in a prominent place in the house
  • Refer to statement daily & redraft if/when appropriate (rarely and with reservation)

Each step could take place on a different day during a different family meeting, or the whole process can take place in one day. It’s up to you; but remember, take as much time as you need because (hopefully) your family will look to the statement for years to come.

For more information:
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