“The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people … When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth? … Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.” — Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback
No one for sure will know what was going through Jovan Belcher’s head on Saturday when he shot and killed Kasandra Perkins before turning the gun on himself in Kansas City. People can debate on social media who is the “victim” of the tragedy, which left two people dead and a little girl an orphan. I really don’t want to be part of those debates. Instead, I’m just sad for all who are involved and wonder if there was a way it all could have been prevented.
Brady Quinn, the Chief quarterback, provided some of the greatest insight in how we should learn from this tragedy: Make sure you’re there for the people around you. He too is wondering if there was a way the whole incident could have been prevented.
So often we ask people how they are and don’t listen for the answer. We hear, but we don’t listen. If we’re asked the same question, we lie many times. I know I have for a variety of reasons. I say I’m fine even though deep down I’m struggling, just wanting to crawl back into my bed and stay there until I feel whole again. But who wants to hear that?
In many ways we’re all very self-involved. We ask how someone is as a matter of small talk when we don’t really want to know the answer. We just want to seem like we care when all we want is someone to give us something. But what would happen if we truly meant it and listened, really listened, to people. I’m observant and know when something is bugging people around me even when they say everything is fine.
And I know how much I want people to listen to me and want them to care. It’s why when I ask how things are, I really mean it. I do want to know. I don’t want lies or bullshit. I want the truth and a real answer. One friend has told me he won’t tell me about his problems because he knows I struggle with my own. But I wouldn’t ask how he’s doing and about specific things if I didn’t really want to know. It’s not a burden to me to listen. It’s more of a burden for all of us to walk around with those problems, feeling alone with no one to talk to.
It’s important to listen to Quinn not only because of this horrible incident in Kansas City but also for the future. Imagine the difference we all can make if we listened and were present for the people around us.