Saladin Patterson: Permission to Fail Paved Way for Success
August 1, 2010 - montgomeryadvertiser.com
It's unfortunate that some adapt to the feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and inability that mark high school by developing chronic low self-esteem.
It's even more unfortunate that others adapt to the feelings of insecurity, inadequacy and inability that mark high school by developing chronic high self-esteem.
But fortunate for all, high school only lasts a few years. Thankfully, I spent mine in LAMP.
My LAMP years were marked by some of the most monumental events in modern history. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the initial dismantlement of apartheid, the fall of communism ... and my working my way up the grade point scale to an "A" in Ms. Lynn Huett's AP American History class.
History had never been a favorite of mine, nor has it been since. However, Ms. Huett allowed us to express our personalities in class. That allowed me to discover that I liked having opinions about things, and that those opinions carried much more weight if I backed them up with historical facts.
A classroom environment that encouraged intellectual self-expression wasn't particular to Ms. Huett's class, but was a LAMP philosophy. From Mrs. Presley allowing us to sign her achievement board when we received an A in Pre-calc (She actually allowed me to write "Turnin' This Mutha Out") to Ms. McClain allowing us to say a favorite quotation every day for roll call, LAMP was about discovering who we were as individuals first, and who we were as students second.
I would later go on to redefine myself professionally at least two more times on my way to my current career. And each time, I had the confidence to do so partly because I'd been allowed to fail and succeed and make those inevitable mistakes that all teenagers make in an environment that would never let me settle for labeling myself anything less than a "success."
Saladin Patterson is a 1990 graduate of Lanier. He is the co-executive producer of the television shows "Psych" and "The Bernie Mac Show." Patterson was a producer of the show "Frazier" and has had films screened at the Sundance Film Festival, the American Black Film Festival and the Aspen Short Festival.