Upon her death last week, Aretha Franklin was hailed as one-of-a-kind, an icon, a national treasure. Her magnificent talent was a gift to the world for over six decades, as she not only entertained, but inspired.
About her, former President Barack Obama tweeted, “Aretha helped define the American experience. In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade - our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect.”
Otis Redding wrote the words and Aretha sang them ...
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Find out what it means to me."
I'm sure most of us strive to be respected by our families, friends, colleagues, neighbors and others in our community, not because of our roles or titles, but for our actions in making a positive difference ... having an impact. Through our actions and impact, others learn how much we value their respect, that we will go the extra mile to earn it and that retaining it is never taken for granted. Likewise, it is through the actions and impact of others, that respect is given or lost.
When you think about it, respect and trust are inextricably linked. We respect those we trust and trust those we respect. When either goes missing, the other tends to diminish or go missing as well.
Agreeing or disagreeing with others on a particular issue may or may not influence our respect for them and visa versa. For example, we’ve all probably disagreed with people for whom we have the utmost respect and agreed with others for whom we have none. I think what perhaps distinguishes the former situation from the latter is not necessarily the issue being debated, as much as agreement (or not) on certain underlying truths.
Author Santosh Kalwar writes, "Trust starts with truth and ends with truth." If this statement is accurate, then trust ... and by extension, respect ... are difficult to achieve in situations where there is a fundamental disagreement about what is true.
The notion that respect is linked to trust and trust is rooted in truth, can be put to the test on many levels. Whether we are talking huge geopolitical issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or local debates regarding education, the connection between truth, trust and respect is unmistakable as the voice of the Queen of Soul.