12/12/2014 11:03 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dear Ella, Be Proud of Your Beautiful Name

Earlier this week, as I returned to New York after a week in India for the launch of HuffPost India, I learned that while I'd been away, a story that had run on HuffPost Parents had left one of our readers a bit upset. The post was entitled "20 Kids' Names That Most Often Appear On The 'Naughty' List," and the reader was a 7-year-old girl named Ella -- which also happened to be the number-one name on the "naughty" list.

Ella forthrightly took it upon herself to write a letter to HuffPost about her disappointment. Unfortunately, a cranky (or sleep-deprived) elf must have misfiled the letter, and we only found out about Ella's reaction when it was featured on her local news station in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

So I feel duty-bound to respond to Ella directly -- and to any other boys and girls who might have been surprised or upset to find themselves on the "naughty" list based solely on a name they did not choose. Watching your TV interview, Ella, I was so impressed by your intelligence, your wit and your charm, and I am certain that you are not only very well-behaved but fearless. (Our HuffPost Parents editors tell me they agree.) As I have always taught my own daughters, Christina and Isabella (whose names weren't on either list but who definitely had their naughty moments), it is so important to stand up for yourself, tell the truth and speak out when you think something is, as you wrote in your note, "blony."

So Ella, be proud of your beautiful name -- a name that, incidentally, is only one letter away from my mother's name, Elli. She would have loved your courage and grit.

And Ella, if you're reading this, please email me at, and we will figure out a time for you to talk about the experience on our video network, HuffPost Live. I'm sure Santa reads The Huffington Post, but I'm also equally sure that he makes his own "naughty" and "nice" lists that are much more accurate than ours.