Chapter OneThe Good, the Bad,
and the Ugly?
"Ouch! That hurts," cried a tiny, mysterious voice
from the piece of bellybutton lint Steve held between
his fingers. "You want a piece of me?
I'm not afraid of you!"
Steve hurried to his desk and picked
up the magnifying glass he used to
examine bugs. He looked carefully at
the talking piece of lint that was
now yelling like a squashed cat.
Steve released his pinching
grip and the piece of lint
brushed himself off, fixed
his hair, and
fluffed out the
marks from his
"Who are you?" asked Steve.
"I'm Lintball Leo, at your service," Leo answered
taking a bow.
"Wow, a talking piece of lint. I must be dreaming,"
"This is no dream. Here. I'll pinch you." Leo tried
to pinch Steve's hand, but his fingers
were so small that Steve
didn't feel a thing."
"Did you feel that?"
Not wanting to be impolite, Steve said, "That was
some pinch. I guess I'm not dreaming after all."
Leo flexed his muscles. "I work out
and eat only good, nutritious
stuff. Gotta stay strong,
"How long have you
been living in my belly
button?" Steve asked.
"Oh, I've been around for a few years
now. Sometimes when you tried to clean your bellybutton,
you knocked me down to other parts of your
body," Leo told Steve. "I visited your feet once, and
while it was nice to see my relatives who live down
between your toes, I think I'd rather live in your
"Uh . I have things living between my toes?"
asked Steve, looking a little nervous.
"Relax, Steve. It's no big deal. All guys have a
little extra dirt here and there. Hey! I've been most
everywhere on your body, and I'm becoming an
expert in boy-body anatomy. I'll be hanging around
until you reach puberty. Then you won't need me
anymore and I'll find another boy's bellybutton to
"Puberty," said Steve. "I've heard that word
before. Can you tell me what it
"No problem." Leo drew himself
up to his full fluffy height.
"Puberty sounds like a strange
word, but it's something that
happens to all people. Puberty
happens when young bodies
start to change and
into men, from girls into
Steve had a look of horror on his face.
"What's with the face? Don't panic! Puberty
doesn't mean you're going to start shaving next
week. It just means that most people begin to
change into adults somewhere between the ages of
nine and fifteen. And it doesn't happen all at once.
Puberty can last anywhere from two to four years."
"Ah, it goes fast.
Especially when you
start thinking aboutgirls."
Steve blushed bright red.
"Puberty can be a pretty
confusing time," Leo said.
"But it helps if you
remember it's all part of
growing up. God made
your body and this is the
way he wants it to work-so
don't sweat it."
"What if I don't want to go through puberty?" asks
"Unfortunately, that's not an option," Leo sighed.
"When the time is right for you, it will just happen.
Then, you'll become a man. That's the good news."
"How old are you?" Steve tried
to get a better look at Leo. Are
you older than dirt?"
"Very funny, Steve. Let me
give you some advice. I've
been here and there over the
years, and I've seen the good,
the bad, and the ugly."
"Now you're talking about girls."
"Hey, another funny one. No, I'm
not talking about girls. I'm talking
about boys and how puberty
Steve looked worried. "Will this
puberty thing hurt? I mean should I wear a
With that Lintball Leo rolled up into a ball and
began laughing hysterically. "A helmet! That's very
funny! Ha ha ha ."
"Uh, Mr. Leo, when you get through laughing, do
you think I could ask you
some questions about my
body?" Steve asked. "I've
been too embarrassed to ask
my parents or teachers. What
do you say? Could you help
"Why certainly," said
Lintball Leo. "But you'll have
to promise that you'll stop calling me Mr. Leo.
(Whispering.) That makes me sound so old. Please,
just call me Lintball."
"OK, Lintball, I'll do that," Steve said with a smile.
"So shoot, Steve? You can ask me anything."
Growing up isn't easy to
do. It would be less
complicated if there were
a training manual telling
you what to expect
throughout puberty. But we
don't have a manual, and even
if we did, everybody grows at
a different pace and in a different
way. Get smart by
finding an older male you
can talk to. The best person
would be your dad. If
he's not available, consider
a youth pastor or counselor
at your school. Ask
very specific questions
about growing up. Listen
carefully to the answers.
Then ask God to help you.