It's a miracle the parenting book industry survived after Tami Taylor came along. This Friday Night Lights matriarch has dispensed every possible piece of advice and inspiration for teens and their parents. The critically acclaimed TV series may center around high school football, but it's about so much more than that. At its core, the show explores what it's like trying to carve out an identity, and how hard that can be in a town hellbent on pigeonholing you.
Tami Taylor is the coach's wife—a role she executes with sheer perfection. But that's just the teeniest tip of the iceberg of who she is. She becomes guidance counselor and school principal and is a mother to just about every teenager in Dillon, Texas. Coach Eric Taylor may be the show's protagonist, and a father figure to football players everywhere, but he's only one half of one of television's most dynamic partnerships ever. Get ready for the feels, y'all. Here is Friday Night Lights: Tami Taylor's 10 Most Inspirational quotes.
10 "Sweetheart, would you take your hat off at the table, please?"
Many TV couples treat each other terribly. How many sitcoms have featured a dismissive husband and a nagging wife? Then there's Tami and Eric. Their marriage runneth over with love and respect. When these two are at their sweetest, the viewer can't even see the TV because their eyes are so blurry with happy tears. But what makes the Taylors so grounded is that they're far from perfect.
They fight and bicker. They're also not afraid to call each other out. Here, Tami could not be more polite in asking her husband for a basic level of decorum. It's not the sweeping romantic gestures that make a partnership; it's the little things, like taking your hat off, that show your significant other that you care. Tami commands respect, but she'll always go classy before she goes sassy.
9 "I was the pretty girl in school. I was terrible at math. I got myself through it."
Growing up, our problems can seem insurmountable. Without a lot of life experience, it can be tempting to bail. Tyra is sick of feeling like a failure, so her plan is to skip town and get by on her looks. But she should know better—any teenager within a hundred mile radius of Tami Taylor is in for a reckoning if they're thinking about dropping out of school.
Only Tami can sound so empathetic when telling a student to suck it up, buttercup. She sees a lot of herself in Tyra and thus, knows what she's capable of. By giving Tyra this advice, Tami isn't belittling her problems; she's giving Tyra the the power to pull herself up by her (cowboy) bootstraps.
8 "The most important thing to me is that my daughter be able to talk to me. A girl is entitled to that with her mother."
It's common knowledge that the Best TV Mom Ever mug belongs in Tami's cabinet. So many parents set unrealistic expectations for their kids which often leads to an irreparable disconnect. Tami understands the importance of communication between parent and child. She may practice tough love, but Tami is an expert in reserving judgment.
When she learns that her daughter Julie consummated her relationship with Matt, Tami couldn't have been a better parent. She emphasizes safety but is sex positive, and emphasizes the fact that real intimacy cannot be achieved without respect. What Julie thought was a lecture turns into a realization that her mom will always, always be in her corner.
7 "...You're a good person and this is just the beginning."
"You are at the beginning of your life. A lot of these football heroes around here, they're not gonna get much farther than this. But you're gonna go to some great college and get a career you love. And I'm telling you right now, women are gonna flock to you. I know it's hard to believe, but that's how it's gonna work. You're a good person and this is just the beginning."
Tami is the best because she can talk to any teen, be they football star, cheerleader, delinquent, or even outcast. For the latter, like Landry, finding self esteem in high school, especially in a football town, is like the Riddle of the Sphinx. But as dorky as he may be, Landry has it better than most of his peers, because his best is yet to come. Tami isn't blowing smoke; she's stating the facts. Her confidence in Landry's bright future give him the keys to find confidence in himself.
6 "Barbecues build morale. That's why you have them."
Aristotle. Kant. Tami Taylor. She is truly one of the great philosophers of our time. Her ability to tap into the depths of the human condition is second to none. But what makes Tami a true genius is her ability to recognize the power of the little things. Rousing speeches and big ideas are all well and good. But quite frankly, they're not going to get through to a sixteen-year-old linebacker the same way a hot-dog will.
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Dillon may embrace its football players but it also puts a crippling amount of pressure on them. They need a positive outlet to blow off steam. Tami knows more than anyone the power in hitting the pause button and asking your teammate to pass the ketchup.
5 "There's no weakness in forgiveness."
Dillon boys are taught to be strong. But there's a difference between having a resolute sense of character and a rigid definition of masculinity. To shut off your nurturing emotions is to grow brittle, and brittleness leads to brokenness. Tami may not have any sons, but this is a lesson for everyone, and she relays as much to Jason Street.
He's feeling conflicted because his girlfriend Lyla cheated on him with his best friend, yet Jason still loves her. He's wants to listen to his heart but also to save face and do the "tough guy" thing. Tami is the first person to tell you not to be a doormat, but also that people make mistakes and we love them anyway. That's not a woman thing. It's a human thing.
4 "You never know what's going on with somebody, sweetie. Can't take it personally."
Nobody has had an enemy worse than their own insecurity. For the teens of Dillon, reputation and relationships are everything. If our friend doesn't sit with us at lunch, they must hate us. If our boyfriend or girlfriend doesn't text us back for an hour, it must mean it's over. This kind of thinking is irrational and debilitating and sometimes quite ridiculous.
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But Tami will never make anyone feel small for expressing their emotions. By giving this advice, she's not only releasing us of our self-made prisons of worry, but also asking us to consider expressing sympathy for everyone, because we'll never fully know someone's story. But if we show that we care, we can get pretty close.
3 "It's part of my job to make sure you don't grow up stupid. It's bad for the world."
If Tami Taylor is sugar and spice, most of the time the world gets her sweet side. But when her spiciness comes out, Tami is a verified ghost pepper. It's an unwritten Dillon rule that the football players don't need to focus on academics as much as the other students. Well, Tami plays by her own set of rules, thank you very much.
In addition to an education, the point of school is learning how to do what's expected of you, even if you don't want to do it. For Tim Riggins, that's writing a paper about The Scarlet Letter. Tami knows handling him with a soft touch is never going to work. To knock some sense into Tim, she has to give him a verbal smack upside the head. His ears are still ringing.
2 "You belong anywhere you want."
Going against the crowd is hard. Especially when that crowd is one of surging football fans. Sometimes it's easier to follow along with society, even if their place for you is less than desirable. Tyra is pegged as girl most likely to die a waitress in Dillon and despite her salty attitude, goes along with it.
She cuts classes and when she bothers to show up, doesn't apply herself. Just like her hometown, Tyra doesn't see herself as "belonging" in college or on a path to success. Tami singlehandedly empowers Tyra to cast off her chains and go after what she wants. It works, too. Tyra gets herself into a good college. All because Tami tells her she belongs there.
1 "Well, you're gonna win or you're gonna lose. Either way, the sun's gonna come up the next morning."
As high school football coach in Dillon, Eric faces the kind of pressure that CEOs only have nightmares about. The loss of the team could mean the loss of his job. Kinda sucks the air out of the football, doesn't it?
Tami wants the team to win, likely more than anybody. Not just because she supports her husband and the players, but because her family livelihood depends on it. The stakes are high. But she offers this perspective to Eric during his sleepless night before the big game. This isn't meant to be diminishing, but comforting. Eric's worrying is not going to help the team win. It just robs him of his sanity before the game, and for what? Life will go on and with Tami by your side, that life is pretty sweet no matter what.