Since the evolution to mammals, we've understood the idea of respect. All mammals understand this idea-- it's universal. Looking at our own lives we see that everybody holds some respect for another person, maybe even multiple people, but the conflicting issue is that what I respect, you may not for whatever reason. But as I mentioned before, the idea is universal. We all know what respect is and why we respect something. To clarify, I'll present you with an example. I respect a comedian named George Carlin, and you may ask why respect a comedian, but it's simple. He is a truthful man, and he agrees with my ideologies, as well as being very hilarious, but it's not only these qualities that earns him my respect-- it's the way he challenges peoples beliefs through intellectual inquiries. He makes people laugh and think at the same time, and lets be honest here, the modern man is either intelligent or stupid; the middle ground is being blurred through years of procreation in environments where they aren't being intellectually stimulated. This leads to an exponential rise in 'followers' who believe in anything they're told without questioning it for themselves.
If you could pick up on the connotations and implications in the above paragraph, you can infer that those we respect influence and shape our outlook on life-- the people we surround ourselves with, the way we think and act, our beliefs and ideologies, our behavior, all influenced by those we look up to. This is what I like to call the CHOICE part of respect, the more modern view of the idea of respect. To elaborate, previous generations would argue that you don't have a choice in the matter, and especially when it comes to parents or elders, you must hold respect for those above you.
Personally, I think it's all a load of horse shit. People need to EARN your respect. It should not be mandatory. But if you put yourself in their shoes, there is only one factor that I think influenced why they believed respect should be mandatory: knowledge. Before mass communication, what would be your source of knowledge? There was no internet, and the only way you'd obtain new knowledge is if you go to a library, and even then you'd have to know what you're looking for; so we can conclude that they respected their elders and parents because they were knowledgeable-- wise. Advice came only from your closest circle, so if you didn't respect somebody, do you think they'd share their wisdom with you? Probably not.
Now that we have a gargantuan archive of knowledge and wisdom known as the world wide web, our elders become almost obsolete. Anything and everything can found on the web, so now we've 'evolved' to beings who can CHOOSE who we want to respect because there is a wider spectrum of people who agree with our opinions and ideas. No more are we forced to assimilate for the sake of fear of alienation. Our elders don't see eye to eye on the younger generations with this, and the way they were raised, their stubbornness will most likely never allow them to accept this idea.
Let me tell you a story, and this is 100% accurate, because I want you, the reader, to understand what I'm trying to say and understand how different we are from our elders.
My brothers and I were discussing the idea of teaching a child obedience; their idea was that the child should respect their parents from the get-go, and when they misbehave, they should be beaten until they apologise and promise not to do it again. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how we break our children. Think about how bad it'll affect their psychological state as they grow up, how much fear they will hold to authoritative figures or speaking up against those who are of much higher status then they are. I told them those very words, and they shook it off, saying that it doesn't affect them mentally; and again this is the older generation speaking. They don't know anything about the human brain or the impact of specific actions on a persons psychological state and mental well-being, all they know is that they're older than you, so they can do whatever they want.
A more modern and conventional method now doesn't involve harsh beatings; the last thing we need is a bunch of adults too scared to speak up against overbearing, power-hungry authoritative figures who pick on the 'little guy' because he's too afraid to stand up for what he believes in. We need to teach the future generations to understand the difference between right and wrong, the difference between voicing your opinion and talking back. In order to do this, we need to raise them on the premise that in order to be respected, you need to show respect.