The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Author Cecelia Ahern says it’s good to be two-faced at times
- Cecelia Ahern, 40, is the daughter of former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
- Bestselling novelist says you should always try to think of the other person
- Believes politeness and kindness show you run your life in a thoughtful way
Best-selling novelist Cecelia Ahern, 40, is the daughter of the former Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern. She lives in Dublin with her husband, David, and their two daughters, Robin, 11, and Blossom, two, and son, Sonny, nine.
I was raised to be polite, to have manners and to be kind. As I look around, I don’t see that so much any more, and it sometimes makes me wonder whether it’s better to be polite or mean like so many people.
I know the answer, of course, and it’s how I’m bringing up my kids. And, if it feels as though you do come last on occasion, you get there in the end. Slow and steady wins the race.
Cecelia Ahern, 40, (pictured) says think of the other person before you say something and the repercussions it will have on them
The way I see it, you should always try to think of the other person before you say something and the repercussions it will have on them. I do a lot of business with the U.S. and they aren’t raised in the same way as us. Americans seem to think that the person who shouts the loudest is the one who gets the results.
I watch my children waiting in a queue to have their faces painted, for instance, and being pushed aside by other kids.
I try to explain to them that they shouldn’t copy that way of behaving; they shouldn’t sink to that level.
My mum, Miriam, is one of 11 and I have a lot of aunts and uncles who would always make sure I said please and thank you. And my grandmother, Olive, was very strict. She hated it if we shrugged or nodded rather than gave a polite answer to a question. But she was also huge fun. She had false teeth and she’d take them out and make them chatter to my friends, which they loved.
Having said all of that, I’m not saying politeness and kindness mean you’re not being tough. It just means you run your life in a more thoughtful way. It’s no more than being considerate.
I remember watching something on television with some friends and one of them saying that a certain character was two-faced: they acted one way and thought another. But, in a way, I think that’s good. You don’t go up to someone and say the rude thing you might be thinking about them. Some people feel that kindness and assertiveness can’t be bedfellows. But it’s not true.
They can perfectly well co-exist.
- FRECKLES by Cecelia Ahern (HarperCollins) is out now.