I love mathematics for what it is. It is an art, and my life is greatly enriched by its presence. It is not some tool that I use to get things done, any more than portrait-painting is just some skill that you use to get things done. I do math for the sake of doing math, with no greater purpose in mind. It’s entertainment, art, stress-relief. Unfortunately, this aspect of mathematics is almost always withheld from students, and they only ever see it as some miserable chore. My goal in all my classes is to show students what I see in mathematics, so that they can learn to love it like I do.
Once you get a kid to like math, the rest is easy.
For any parent interested in learning more about my perspective on mathematics education, an essay titled, “A Mathematician’s Lament” by Paul Lockhart is an amazing read. Google will turn it up easily, but here’s a link anyway: