I played piano for many years growing up. When our family bought a piano, I was so excited. I thought about playing songs I knew the words to. At that time, probably some variety of Disney songs.
Of course, my parents put me in piano lessons. That's where things started going downhill. Soon after learning the basics, I was off to learning classical repertoire. Soon after that, I was learning songs I neede to pass the Royal Conservatory music exam. Practical and theory. I'm sad to say this way of learning killed all my excitement for piano.
Looking back, it's clear that people have very different learning styles. I definitely see the value of a good foundation; scales, arpeggios, counting. However, I strongly believe I would still be playing piano today if I had played songs I knew. At least mixed in with the serious stuff.
What I'm thankful for is learning how to read music. Ultimately, piano was a good introduction to music. I went on to play flute for several years with my school band. Most recently, I sing a cappella and dabble with my guitar. Only singing and playing songs that I want to learn. I'm grateful music is still a part of my life, thanks to the piano.