You Gotta Be” by Des’ree (a pop singer who came and went quickly during the 1990s) has a lot of great advice for young women — or for anyone else. I want my students to “challenge what the future holds,” to “stand up and be counted,” and, when warranted, “Don’t be ashamed to cry.”

Joanna and I would agree that often “love will save the day,” though not in the silly fairy tale “love conquers all” sense. Love can overcome a great deal — but only if both people in the relationship truly want to work hard enough to make it work. And in all aspects of life, including work, motherhood and marriage, Joanna has done a better job than perhaps anyone else I know of recognizing the inherent truth in the first three lines of the song’s chorus:

You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser
You gotta be hard, you gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together

She also knows that sometimes you gotta be good, you gotta be humble, you gotta be soft, or you gotta rage against injustice.

Obviously I gotta be blessed, to have her in my life. Lyrics here, with video below.

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