In 8 Great Smarts, Kathy Koch identifies eight major areas of intelligence and explains how parents can nurture these smarts in their children. The author shares from her experience as a speaker and teacher on how discovering and growing each of these smarts are critical for utilizing our abilities to our greatest potential. Koch emphasizes that every individual is unique in the combination of smarts that they possess which is a combination of what God has bestowed upon us at birth and the result of how we developed these smarts over time. For example, a child who is talented in music may not necessarily realize his or her full potential if parents do not observe this innate ability at an early age and introduce the child to different types of music or instruments. Moreover, the author reminds readers that it is never too late to work on each smart in order to gain greater aptitude despite her observation that early exposure yields the most enduring results. Nevertheless, the author states that once we identify the smarts that we have, we should also be aware of the benefits and dangers of each smart. For example, someone who is people smart may be a cheerful encourager but that same individual can use charisma to manipulate those around them. As a whole, the book is fairly practical dealing with areas such as possible future careers for each smart along with suggestions such as games and family activities to grow the different smarts in young children.
A caution that I would like to highlight concerning the book’s message is that we may end up becoming overly focused on our children’s smarts and successes which can easily lead to pride and selfish ambition. Also, we need to remind our children that each of us have our unique weaknesses. God may certainly choose to grow us in the areas where we are lacking however He may also be asking us to rely on others who have abilities that are beyond or different from ours to make up for our shortcomings. We are told in the Bible that He has given each of us as members of His body different talents and gifts that are useful for the building up of His kingdom together.
I would recommend this book as a good starting point to discovering the abilities that God has gifted to each of us. Instead of conforming to how most people would define smartness, Koch states that every person is smart in a different way depending on how those smarts have been developed. I especially appreciate the author’s focus on the spiritual aspect of stewarding one’s smarts. Koch reminds readers that it is of first importance that we use our smarts to edify the church and bring glory to God. Moreover, as parents, we have the responsibility to help our children discover the abilities that God has endowed them with and look for opportunities to grow these smarts accordingly.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines, I received a review copy from Moody Press in exchange for a book review.