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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"Five to Thrive" (Dr Kathy Koch)

TITLE: Five to Thrive: How to Determine If Your Core Needs Are Being Met (and What to Do When They're Not)
AUTHOR: Kathy Koch
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2020, (240 pages).

The popular cliche says: "Don't just try to survive, thrive!" It is a nice way to inspire one to grow beyond the status quo. Yet, there is also a sense that such motivational phrases might have become too common, or overused. Strangely, many people still pay lots of money to go to motivational seminars and lavish conferences to get a new kick at life. The trouble is, once the initial hype is over, everything goes back to square one. What happens next? Another motivational project? If only there is a proven way not only to get a motivational impetus, but to make it sustainable. This book acts on that principle, not just driven by our human determination, but linked intricately to divine dependence. At the same time, there is sufficient qualitative and quantitative data to support the way to thrive. Thanks to Kathy Koch, we have one helpful avenue to improve our lives. The way to do that is to determine our core skills in our journey to being whole persons, fully in tune with who we are and what we are created to be. We cannot be less than who we are. The moment we are able to be the best of ourselves, that is where thriving begins. Author Kathy Koch lists five things that can make us whole. She calls these the "five core needs."

  1. Security: Who Can I Trust?
  2. Identity: Who am I?
  3. Belonging: Who wants me?
  4. Purpose: Why an I Alive?
  5. Competence: What do I Do Well?
These needs have been ordered for a reason. Generally, there is an inner-to-outer movement. For instance, before one can be effective externally, one needs to be in tune with oneself internally. Another key truth is that before we can help others, we ourselves need to be helped first. Using her early dance classes as an example, she shares about her sequence of needs being met as she moves from fear to faith and from faith to fruitfulness. Security is the base of all the core needs. Our search for fulfilment and recognition of our calling needs to go through these five core needs. More importantly, Koch tells us that our search for fulfillment of our core needs must never exclude God. For only God can truly and completely fill us. In each of these five core needs, Koch shows us two angles before giving us a path forward. Negatively, we need to beware of trying to fulfill our needs through things temporal. Positively, we can benefit from role models and various grace we have received from people, such as our parents or benefactors. As the foundation of Koch's five-core-needs model is security, it is important to not to skip this particular chapter.

My Thoughts
I think of three questions as I read this book. How scientifically proven are the five factors? Are the Scriptures used an after-thought addition to a personal technique? How different is this from other self-help books?

First, how scientifically proven is this book? Given that Koch holds a PhD in educational psychology, as far as the credibility of the author is concerned, readers should feel a sense of ease to know that the author is someone who has spent considerable time working through and proving that the theories are sound. The other factor is that this work combines the experiences and knowledge gained through her ministry of "Celebrate Kids, Inc." Koch has given this messages in many countries, in churches, schools, and other organizations. However, if we are looking for numbers, factual evidence, and statistics, we will not find them here. This work is thus more qualitatively oriented.

Second, how are the Scriptures used here? Every chapter begins with a passage from the Bible as an anchor. There is not much biblical exposition here, probably because this book is not a Bible commentary in the first place. It is more application with the Bible in mind. The key to linking Scripture with the five thriving core needs is to see first that everything begins with God. Our first security, our core identity, our belonging, our purpose, our competence, are all linked with God. Without God, there is no path forward. We are no different than any other secular organizations. I think the biggest pointer to God is that without His Word and His anchor, all of our plans will fall flat in a matter of time.

Third, how different is this book from other self-help books? I would say that chapter on the "Change Process" is quite special. Apart from just giving us a plan for establishing our core needs, Koch goes into not just the psychology but the theological view of the human being. It is not just mental or psychology at play here. We are also deeply spiritual beings. Transformation is never something that we can do on our own. We need divine help. Humans can only do so much. With God, there is no limit.

I like this book and warmly recommend it for anyone seeking to improve their lives and to establish a deeper dependence on God. It must begin with a willingness to let go of our own stubborn old ways and to let God change us from the inside out.

Dr Kathy Koch is the founder and president of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in in Fort Worth, Texas, and a co-founder of Ignite the Family, base in Alpharetta, Georgia. She earned a PhD in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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