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‘Presence over perfection’: A first-time father enjoys time with his newborn son

When Chase Christman, welcomed his first child, Grayson Thomas, on May 12, he remembered the advice one of his Best Buy colleagues gave him about fatherhood: Presence over perfection.

“That’s something I’m really going to hang on to,” said Chase, the director at our delivery distribution center in Flower Mound, Texas. “I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to do things wrong. But I want to make sure I’m present and supporting him or guiding him through whatever.”

Chase implemented this advice the moment Grayson arrived. He took paternity leave for four weeks, a benefit available for Best Buy employees that allows both birth mothers and non-birth parents to bond with a child.

Having the extended, uninterrupted time with Grayson and his wife, Erica, has been fantastic, Chase said. Both his and Erica’s parents stayed with them for the first few weeks to help with the adjustment, so Chase was able to spend time with the new grandparents and take in any tips they had about caring for a newborn.

During his parental leave, Chase and Erica learned not only how to physically care for their son, but how to split time and responsibilities to support one another. That’s something they’ll continue to work on as they both return to work following their leaves.

And Chase was there for all of the milestone moments in those first few weeks. Grayson has already learned to roll from his tummy to his back, an accomplishment Chase was proud to see.

“I definitely feel an additional layer of responsibility, but also a lot of pride,” Chase said. “It’s not just about me or Erica. We’re now thinking of the type of parents we want to be not just now, but down the road.”

As Chase thinks ahead to all the other milestone moments that will happen in Grayson’s lifetime, he’s grateful for the training he’s had in empathy, vulnerability and grace — skills he knows will make him a better father. Raising a child will also provide lessons in other skills, such as patience and prioritization, that he hopes to translate into his role at Best Buy.

Now that he’s transitioning back into work, Chase says the smooth transition is entirely thanks to the support of his colleagues that he was able to enjoy the time with Grayson and Erica and then come back without a hitch. His supervisor was adamant that Chase should use the time to be with his family and not think about work.

His co-workers helped fulfill that promise. From knitted blankets, taking on additional responsibilities and more, his Best Buy team made sure Chase could be fully present for the beginning of his new family.

“A lot of fathers tell me about their experience where they had a baby on Friday and were back [to work] on Monday,” Chase said. “I’m just so grateful for the time to be with my family.”

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