Omar Babun – Youth Life Coach
With Loss Comes Strength
Hi. I’m Omar Babun. Yes, pronounced just like “baboon”. It’s no wonder they called me “monkey boy” growing up.
Well, let me tell you how valuable it was to have this unique last name that made me such an easy target.
Babun came from my father, a strong Cuban man that knew how to make something, out of nothing. He was hardworking, persevering, and courageous. Without even knowing English, he established a successful trucking company in this country. My dad was my Superman! He was powerful and in my eyes, invincible…
Until one day.
I was nine years old when a stranger knocked on my door with my dad in his arms. He laid him on the couch and left. That’s when mortality beat my Superman. Unbeknownst to me, my dad had been battling cancer and had hidden this “weakness” from his number one fan. The disease took his body, but his life and legacy remain in me, ‘monkey boy’.
The one thing I may never forgive my dad for is leaving me alone with five other women in the family: my mom and my four older sisters. Boy, was I outnumbered! There was never a shortage of drama and mother figures telling me what to do with my life. But God gave me Rey, my oldest sister’s husband. He assumed the paternal figure by treating me as a true son. Rey took me on family trips, spoiled me with thoughtful gifts, and taught me how to drive.
Above all the lessons though, there was one in particular that I know only Rey could have taught me: how to be a man of my word. He held me accountable for my actions and led by example in being dependable, reliable and steadfast.
Soon after my dad’s passing, came Rick - a brilliant and well-educated man that married my mom. Rick showed me the love of a father while respecting my dad’s memory. He was affectionate, showed interest in anything I did, and taught me love towards reading, dancing, and music. My stepdad pushed me to become better and never settle…
Until one day.
He, too, was defeated by cancer. Rick joined my dad in Heaven when I was 24.
His legacy remained in me as I broke the ice dancing at house parties growing up. I also honored him by working hard to pursue a successful career and never settling for less than what I can give.
Although I enjoyed having three amazing father figures that taught me a world about life and values, they never really had the opportunity to teach me about girls.
I may have been a bit awkward in that department growing up. I was romantic when I was supposed to be cool and too nice when playing hard to get was the way to go. However, I had been so loved by my family, that I was oblivious to what other people thought of me in school when they called me ‘monkey boy’. Not being the popular kid in school didn’t faze me, but it helped that I was very athletic and dedicated to sports.
I was a freshman and a water polo star in Christopher Columbus High School when I finally met a sweet girl that loved me for who I was. I felt I could be with her forever…
Until one day.
It was a beautiful afternoon when she rode bike to meet me and had the most amazing time together. When it was time to leave, she crossed the avenue and I went the opposite way. As in romantic movies, I looked back to see my love depart, only to witness a big SUV push her delicate body into the ground. I ran to hold her and felt her last breaths in my arms, as her life faded away.
LOSS. GRIEF. PAIN.
I’ve known these all too well from early on in life. But it is pain itself that has trained me in one of the most powerful tools a young person can possess…
RESILIENCE The ability to bounce back.
Although I felt my world crumble into pieces with every loss I experienced, I managed to build my life back stronger every single time.
I learned to have faith and focus on my blessings amidst pain. I also understood that, while difficulties seem to be permanent when you’re undergoing them, they too will pass - if you choose to.
I understood that loss is an opportunity to gain.
I lost my dad, but gained two more.
I lost my sweet girlfriend, but God gave me the most amazing wife a man could ever ask for.
Pain is the fertilizer for growth. It is an opportunity to become stronger and better.
My mom knew that well. This sweet, caring woman devoted her life to keeping ours intact. She worked hard to provide for us and even harder to show us love. My mother is the face of God in my life. She practiced miracles to give us everything and modeled for us the virtues of love, loyalty, faith, and perseverance. My sisters were not too far behind. The overload of estrogen in my house turned out to be a blessing after all.
So much so, that I am known to be the best soccer mom in town! Yes, I am that dad.
Until one day.
It was up to me to be that one person that believed in them. I know firsthand how much it means to have people that care enough to vouch for you and push you beyond the limits that life circumstances impose on you. I understand pain and helplessness, but I know resilience and hope best. It is my ethical and Christian responsibility to share my life lessons. And it is what has brought me to coach kids, teens, and young adults who may be struggling or feel lost.
I have abandoned my career as a biomedical engineer to pursue the complex ‘bio-psycho-social engineering’ of us human beings, as I like to call it.
I am a teacher and a coach, but I am forever a student looking to better himself and others. I continue to teach high school students and participate in Life Coach and Psychology trainings by Dr. Betsy Guerra, a renowned psychotherapist in Miami, Florida.
I am Omar Babun, the ‘monkey boy’ that has the strength of a gorilla because he had the support and guidance that I want to offer you and your brilliant child.