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John O’Leary welcomes Dave Pelzer, author of A Child Called It to the Live Inspired Podcast reminding us that we have the ability to emerge from the shadows into a brighter, more resilient future.

Dave Pelzer endured years of unimaginable child abuse inflicted by his own mother, and yet emerged from the depths of despair to become a beacon of hope and resilience.

In 1995, Dave courageously shared his harrowing experiences in his memoir, A Child Called It, a book that not only touched the hearts of millions but also achieved an unprecedented feat by remaining a New York Times bestseller for an astounding six years. Today, Dave has made it his life’s mission to empower others to discover their inner strength, persevere through adversity, and unlock their fullest potential.

Join us as Dave shares about the unimaginable torment he endured during those years of abuse and the pivotal roles his teachers played in his path to survival. He also delves into the profound and transformative journey of forgiveness, illustrating the incredible power it holds in healing the wounds of the past.

My friends, this conversation is a reminder that no matter how dark your past may be, there is always a way to rewrite your own narrative and emerge from the shadows into a brighter, more resilient future.

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  • Target Child Selection: Researchers say it’s not uncommon for an abusive parent to single out one child as the target of physical violence.
  • When Dave’s parents separated in January 1973, by happenstance, his teachers stepped in and he was placed in foster care.
  • Dave wasn’t scared of the diabolical new things he feared his mom would do to him. It was her getting more aggressive in the forms of abuse she already practiced.
  • Tumblers: Where things happen at the right time, at the right place.
  • After being rescued and placed in a series of foster homes, Dave enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 18.
  • “I’m not the best at anything, but I give my absolute best. And that’s the difference.”
  • In his bestselling book A Child Called It, Dave writes from his 8-year-old boy perspective and it was written to show appreciation to the those who helped him escape his situation. Get a copy of Dave Pelzer’s bestselling book A Child Called It here.
  • “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack London
  • Keep your faith and don’t give up on yourself.
  • Get a copy of Dave Pelzer’s latest book Return to the River here.


Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Steve Pemberton. Never acknowledged by his father and abandoned by his mother, Steve spent his childhood being shuffled through the foster care system where he was abused, neglected and forgotten. To hear the small gestures of kindness from ordinary people helped Steve forge a new path that that led to personal and professional success, listen to ep. 348.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. I don't know how to answer that question because I think I'm becoming more of a little kid now that I'm a grandparent.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A photo of my son.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Someone with the wisdom, courage and humbleness of Gandhi.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Don't give up. I'm proud of you.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. You're going to kick butt.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. I'm a lucky man.