10/07/2013 10:51 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2013

What Has Happened to Respect?

Aretha Franklin sang about it. So did Erasure.

Those seven letters: R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Some people demand it. Others expect it. And yet, not everyone gives it.

I've been completely blown away by statements made by Congressmen that the shutdown happening in the U.S. is around a lack of respect from either the president or the "other side." Playing politics with people's lives because someone got their feelings hurt and wants to make someone else pay. Whatever happened to taking the high road? To seeing something through because of responsibility to whatever it was one had signed up for in the beginning. The entire environment in Congress feels like one big playground of kids who did not get their way. Yet how was it these particular people were raised to believe it's okay to act in such a manner?

When I was a child, we were taught to respect our elders -- no matter what. There may have been teachers or directors or people I worked under that I didn't always like, but I never showed them disrespect when dealing with them. My parents had placed it in my head that showing a lack of respect was simply not acceptable behavior. It was fine to disagree with someone, but mom and dad expected us to still be respectful in how we displayed that disagreement.

I never thought I'd be the 40-something-year-old man ever uttering the words, "times have changed," but boy -- they have. Perhaps in an attempt for some parents to not raise their children the way they were raised, I notice the younger generation now has much more of an entitlement reaction to situations -- something I can't remember having in my youth. Just because others had "X," I didn't think it meant I was entitled to have it too. Now I'm sure when I was in my teens and 20s I thought I already knew everything, but I'd still respect those I disagreed with. Perhaps we can blame social media and the lack of human connection, but respect has gone out the window in the new age of modern technology. Somewhere along the way, the act of holding in esteem someone in a position of authority, a boss or even someone you may disagree with completely went out the window.

But I suppose if for some reason you're not getting adequate role models at home, you definitely can't look at society for answers. Not with pop stars and Hollywood elite disrespecting everyone they come in contact with. Or Congress seeing how long they can keep the government shut down until they get their way. No, at this rate we'll continue to nurture a new generation that believes respect is a thing of the past, and if they believe they know "better" than another -- they are entitled to share that no matter how it makes the other person feel.

As Aretha said -- just a little bit would be nice.

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