"Accept the love that is there"

Keith Leslie, our outgoing Chair of Board of Trustees writes a letter to his younger self.

I remember many happy events from my childhood, playing in the back garden, visiting nearby grandparents, travelling by car on holiday to Italy. When I think about ‘what did I learn’ or ‘what would I do differently’, two things come to mind:

Love is not conditional

Like any child, I did not do everything perfectly and maybe I was particularly clumsy – I didn’t discover until adulthood that I have poor eyesight with little depth perception and a neurological condition that causes a hand tremor.

My father must have been a very different child himself, because I felt that I didn’t match up to his expectations. I remember an Easter school holiday, I think I was 10, when I decided that I had to accomplish two tasks and he would be proud of me.

He had always been disappointed that I couldn’t ride my bike and I had been unable to paint straight lines on the side of a model ship.

A sense of history

I found a history book in my school desk when I was 8 – it was called ‘History for Young Scots’ and I devoured it. I watched a Magnus Magnusson TV series called ‘Who are the Scots?’ and that was the start of a life-long passion for history, its heroes and its lessons and parallels with today.

Looking back I would tell my younger self not to try to change very much at all, but see events through an undistorted lens – accept the love that is there and ignore any worries about it stopping or being conditional: it isn’t. And grow a deep love and understanding of where you come from, why things are as they are – and how you might make them different one day.

We would like to thank Keith Leslie for his commitment and support. We are excited to announce that Aisha Sheikh-Anene has been appointed as the new Chair of Trustees.