Macungie, Pennsylvania is home, and ONE WAY TO THINK ABOUT IT is a blog by Catherine Gehman, educator. Her posts are designed to energize and inspire teachers in all stages of their career by simply giving - giving ideas that work for her, and by bringing attention to past and current expert voices in education.

High Dive

High Dive

I asked my thirty year old son to recall a moment from his childhood. Together we wrote this poem which has become symbolic of the many brave things he's done in his life. I'm so proud of the man he has become.

HIgh Dive

By TJ Gehman and Catherine Gehman

(A mother and son recall swimming lessons on a Saturday at Parkland Pool)


As clear as it was yesterday;

Moments stand still in time, accurate and detailed like realistic art.

The vivid colors of my children’s childhood was painted in my heart.


I have trouble recalling detailed memories;

Impressions imprinted on my mind, less like a hyper realistic painting

and more like blotches of vivid color on an expressionist painting.


I sat on the bleachers,

Watching carefully

Young heads and little butts

Bob up and down, thread in and out of the water.


I remember the

Smell of the chlorine;

feeling cold;

conversations echo from the bleachers;

the give of the diving board as I inched my way forward;


Chlorine burns my nostrils,

Raindrops bead on the skylight above.

I peel of my sweater in the sauna-like room.

Sarah entertained by Grandpa,

Baby Drew squirms in Daddy’s arms,

While TJ swims in unison with the other six year olds in the pool.


It’s time to jump off the high dive;

One by one up they climb,

Like little bombs they jump,

Instructor waits for each.

TJ’s last in line;

Look of concern grabs at my heartstrings.


Terror feels its way deep in the pit of my stomach

I looked down

into the pool

from what seemed to be

100 feet up.

He took his time;

Inched his way up.


Time, he needs time.

Will he?

Go ahead. You can do it.

The instructor opens her arms and coaches the reluctant student.

Slowly the room grows quiet,

And all eyes move to the the boy on the high dive.

Will he?

His toes grab the end of the board,

His eyes focused only on the water that will catch his descent.


Completely Quiet.

Suspense filled strangers wait;

Who doesn’t remember doing something scary for the first time?

One minute, maybe two.

To a parent, an eternity.

Please, God, help him to do it.


He draws in a breath,

And springs off the board;

Arms flail, but

Feet first, nonetheless.

Splashing deep into the pool,

He shoots up,

Gasps for air,

Followed by ear to ear smile.

Our eyes meet and know what he has done.

The room has broken into applause for a little boy

Who jumped off the high dive for the first time.



And - jump!




Thrill. Relief. Accomplishment.

Tremendous satisfaction.


You are so brave!

I’ll remember this, every detail, like it was yesterday,  forever.

Sarah in Pantone Colors

Sarah in Pantone Colors

My Best Friend in the Heartland

My Best Friend in the Heartland