Some of the most responsible decisions Brent made throughout the story had to do with the whirligigs he set out to build.
Brent worked diligently in fashioning the whirligigs. He never used his inner distress as an excuse to quit. In California, he decided to make a whirligig that consisted of a whale and a mermaid (to represent Lea). In all, Brent spent three days manipulating rods, balancing propeller blades, and working with plywood. It was difficult, exhausting work, but Brent persisted. He forgot about his sadness and worked hard to keep his promise to Lea's family.
In Florida, Brent treated the grammar-school children kindly. When they asked him about helping with the whirlgigs, Brent took the trouble to explain what he was doing. He also showed the children how to handle the tools safely. Above all, he kept a close watch on his young helpers. The text tells us that Brent felt like a "substitute kindergarten teacher." Whatever his reservations, Brent definitely acted the part. He listened patiently to the children's chatter and even went swimming with them. He learned from the children, and in turn, they learned from him.
So, throughout the book, Brent made some responsible decisions. First, he decided not to waste his life in despondency. Then, he went to work to keep his promise to Mrs. Zamora. Brent worked on the whirligigs despite his inner turmoil, and he overcame each obstacle with grace and courage.